RiverHawks baseball overcomes slump
TNE Editor

RiverHawks baseball overcomes slump


Austin Headlee

TNE Writer

The RiverHawks’ baseball team went on a four-game losing streak, dating back to the second game against the Southwest Baptist University Bearcats on March 31. The RiverHawks dropped a second game to the Bearcats before losing in a lone game against the Pittsburg State University Gorillas on April 4 and the first game of the three-game series with the Missouri Western State University Griffons on April 7.

The four-game streak was the RiverHawks’ longest losing streak of the season. However, the team was able to bounce back from their slump with determination.

“We hate losing,” said Jake Hendrick, RiverHawks baseball head coach. “We don’t work as hard as we do starting in August just to show up and get beat. On the flip side, we realize anytime we show up there is a risk of losing. When you play a sport, that is always a risk.”

The RiverHawks won the last two games of the series against the Griffons while they were playing from behind on Sunday and Monday. The RiverHawks were able to gain an early lead during the first inning of the second game thanks to Tristan Ridenour’s, senior catcher from Nixa, Mo., three-run home run. However, the Griffons led the game with a 6-5 score heading to the bottom of the ninth inning.

The RiverHawks tied the game when Ridenour scored a run off an RBI single from Derek Shedden, senior left fielder from Edmonton, Canada. Michael Rhea, junior centerfielder from Greenwood, Ark., hit a grand slam to give the RiverHawks a 10-6 win. 

The Griffons gained an early lead in the last game of the series. However, the RiverHawks were able to answer back by hitting a pair of home runs in the second inning giving the team a 2-1 lead. 

The Griffons were able to regain the lead in the seventh inning and held it until the bottom of the ninth inning. The RiverHawks won when Shedden was hit by a wild pitch, which forced Jaxon Phillips, sophomore second baseman from Nocona, Texas, from third base to home and register a run. The team won 9-8 to start a two-game win streak.

“Two huge things were needed in our come-from-behind wins,” said Dustin Berrong, senior pitcher from Fort Walton Beach, Fla. “Our guys stepped up and made some winning plays when we needed them.”

The RiverHawks were able to hit five home runs over the three-game series against the Griffons. Rhea led the team with seven RBIs over the series. Ridenour and Colton Wright, junior utility player from Surrey, BC, Canada, each hit two home runs over the series.

The RiverHawks look forward to the remaining games this week. The team is slated to play against two opponents over the course three games. 

“It’s another big week,” said Parker Kruckenberg, RiverHawks baseball assistant coach. “We have a home game on Wednesday, then we travel seven hours on Thursday and then play three games over the weekend. We’ll look for our pitching to continue to be solid this week. Over the weekend I think our offense looked as good as it has all year so that is really encouraging moving forward.”

The RiverHawks are 10-2 while playing at Thomas C. Rousey Field. The team will look to earn their eleventh win when the University of Central Oklahoma Bronchos. The Bronchos blew out the RiverHawks 6-0 in their previous matchup at Edmond. The game starts on 2 p.m. Wednesday, April 11 at Rousey Field.

The RiverHawks play the Fort Hays State University Tigers in a three-game series starting April 13. The Tiger are 13-22 this season and are coming off a loss against the William Jewell University Cardinals. 

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