Sports & Outdoors

Logger baseball wins three straight against conference foe

The Loggers play against Linfield in a March 31 game — Photo courtesy of Logger Athletics

The Puget Sound baseball team has taken an exciting turn for the better. After a long start to the season, the squad crushed three wins in a row against Lewis and Clark College the weekend of March 23. Numerous individual players had outstanding performances and the team as a whole dialed in the recent stretch of games.

At the start of the season the team had high hopes to succeed early on because of their many returning players and excited young team.

Senior captain Jack Gries described the team’s initial thoughts before season had begun.

“Returning one of the most experienced teams in the conference, we believed — still believe — that with the very talented freshman players combined with our experience, that we would make it to the conference tournament for the first time in four years and to win the tournament,” Gries said.

Coach Halstead explained that a mixture of things came together for the team to have such success in their recent games: “Last couple of weeks we started playing better baseball. We were all healthy and we were ready to play.”

The team has struggled to finish games with wins throughout the season, but they are on an upward trend. On March 16–17, the team played three games in southern California and a series against Pacific Lutheran University, all of which were close and competitive games.

The baseball team encompasses somewhat of a young squad with many juniors and sophomores in starting positions. Out of the 45 players that make up the team, only five of them are seniors. However, the senior class has still played an enormous part to help the team in their recent success.

Junior Hunter Riley described the team’s ability to take on adversity and improve late in season.

“We are now playing how we were playing at the end of the year last year, with more intent at the plate collectively, plus not playing scared on defense,” Riley said.

During the second game against Lewis and Clark, the Loggers scored 27 runs, a high for this season. Coach Halstead explained the factors behind such a high scoring game: “We put a lot of pressure on their starting pitcher early and forced him out in the second inning, which gave us an opportunity to capitalize.”

Seniors Michael Warnick and Tyler Huling both pitched exceedingly well during the weekend, only allowing a total of 15 runs throughout all three games. Additionally, Gries was named Logger of the week for his outstanding performance this past weekend.

Gries discussed the improvements made throughout the season: “I am incredibly proud of the resiliency that this team has shown. This team has shown a tremendous amount of improvement since the start of the year, especially in our ability to play good defense and compete late in games.”

Gries scored six points during the weekend and had several hits each game, making his presence known.

Coach Halstead acknowledged Gries’ hard work throughout the season.

“Jack had an outstanding week as a whole, including in California the week before. It wasn’t just the home runs; he stole multiple bases and diving runs. He was that spark of energy we needed to get those wins,” Halstead said.

The team will compete in 15 more games before finishing their regular conference season.

Riley described the goals and expectations for the rest of the season: “One game at time, and we just have to fight. We also have one of the best pitching staffs in the conference, so the pitchers need to keep improving and killing it.”

The baseball team will play against Whitworth University Saturday, April 6 and Sunday, April 7.