ASST. SPORTS EDITOR
The Whittier College Baseball team journeyed to Newberg, Oregon to take on the George Fox University Bruins in a two-day, three-game series from March 31 to Apr. 1. The Poets were able to win one out of the three games played that weekend, which put the Poets’ season record at 7-20 overall, with a 3-9 record in Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) play.
“Although we lost two out of our three games last weekend in Oregon, I feel that we played some of our best and most relaxed baseball of the year.” said senior and team captain Jake Raynaud. “Whether it was the fact that all the team was focused on that weekend was to play baseball, or the fact that we finally learned to stop thinking so much and just play the game, the team came a little closer together, which could spell trouble for the other teams in these next four weeks.”
The first of the three game series started off strong in favor of the Poets, giving the team the first run of the game in the third inning. The Poets’ luck continued going into the fourth, as they were able to score another run, leading 2-0. The Bruins were able to score their first run in the fifth inning, leaving the Poets with only a one run lead of 2-1. Just when the Poets’ luck looked like it was going to reign once again with a 3-1 lead in the sixth, the Bruins gained four runs in the eighth, ending the game 5-3 in favor of the Bruins.
The first game of Saturday’s doubleheader started off rough for the Poets, who trailed 3-0 in the second inning behind the Bruins. Following yet another run for the Bruins in the sixth inning, things seemed to be turning around for the Poets as they scored their first run of the game in the eighth. Just as it seems that all hope was lost, the team put up five runs in the ninth inning, taking the lead and finalizing the game 6-5.
Just as the Poets’ luck seemed to be turning around, the second game of the doubleheader did not play out in their favor. The Bruins, ready for a comeback, scored the first run of the game right from the get-go in the first inning. Keeping the momentum, the Bruins scored another run in second, forcing the Poets to catch up in the fourth only to tail behind yet again, 6-2 in favor of the Bruins. The Bruins held onto that lead, scoring three runs in the sixth inning. Despite scoring a run in the sixth inning and two in the ninth, the Poets were unable to catch up to the Bruins, leaving Whittier to take the loss at 7-5.
“I feel that during the last game of the three game series at George Fox University we had every opportunity to win that ball game, but, as in many cases during this season, we came up short and couldn’t execute when we needed to,” said Raynaud. “I believe that we had the capability and the talent to win almost every game this year, but when it came down to executing a play, or executing a pitch, or executing at bat, we . . . were unable to achieve those executions, resulting in a majority of our losses.”
Even though the Poets are now eighth in the overall SCIAC rankings, the team captain wholeheartedly believes that his team can work their way back up. “I strongly think that if our baseball team can begin to build confidence and pride in every aspect of the game, including practice, we will be able to play high quality baseball, from the first pitch of the game to the last pitch,” said Raynaud. “If we do that, we should begin to execute more and also win a majority, if not all, of our remaining twelve games.”
The Whittier College Baseball team will continue theirSCIAC play this weekend as they play a three-game series against the Kingsmen of Cal Lutheran University. The first game of the series is Friday, Apr 7, beginning at 3:00 p.m. at Whittier College’s Memorial Field.