RiverHawks baseball bounce back after a tough loss
TNE Editor

RiverHawks baseball bounce back after a tough loss

4/19/18

Austin Headlee

TNE writer

The RiverHawks baseball team played four consecutive games last week. The team faced off against the University of Central Oklahoma Bronchos, the top-ranked team in the MIAA conference, and Fort Hays State Tigers.

The RiverHawks faced off against the Bronchos to start the four-game series. The RiverHawks were unable to overcome the Bronchos in their second matchup of the season, losing 24-4. However, the RiverHawks were able to sweep the Tigers in the final three games of the series, winning 13-9, 15-7, and 16-5

“It’s good to win three games and we swung it really good,” said Jake Hendrick, RiverHawks baseball head coach. “Playing that many games in a row, we were behind pitching staff-wise, so we had a lot of position guys step up and do things to help us win. Yeah, we got beat up by UCO, but we won three out of four of the week and that’s what we’re trying to do, win weeks.” 

The RiverHawks’ pitching rotation is one of the best in the MIAA. The team has allowed the fewest hits and earned runs while giving up one of the lowest numbers of walks in the conference. Dustin Berrong, senior pitcher from Fort Walton Beach, Fla., and Ben Strahm, junior pitcher from West Fargo, N.D., are each in the top five of every pitching statistic in the MIAA.

“Those two guys have been good for us for most of the year,” said Hendrick. “I’m glad we’re making it tough for others to score and if our offense keeps playing like they have the past week we’ll be very tough down the stretch.”

The pitching rotation has been strong over the season and the players are starting to play aggressive offense. Tristan Ridenour, senior catcher from Nixa, Mo., believes that the team is coming together and is ready to play.

“What those guys on the mound have been doing is something I haven’t seen since I’ve been here,” said Ridenour. “Those guys take what they do very seriously. The hitters, like coach said, have been coming around. This past series against Fort Hays we’ve had 13 home runs. Everyone has hopped on board and we’re going to do some good things.”

The RiverHawks have a 22-16 record and are 13-12 in conference play. The team had a rough start, but has rebounded as the season progressed. The season has been tough for the team, but it appears that they’ve found a way to improve every week.

“It’s been a grind,” said Blake Vandegrift, senior first basemen from Owasso. “Starting out the season we weren’t doing what we were expecting to do, and we have a phenomenal team with a lot of talent at every position. After the Fort Hays series, things have started falling our way and the guys are going in the same direction. It’s just been a grind.”

The RiverHawks will face off in a home double-header against Nebraska Kearney, starting at 11 a.m. on Friday, April 20. The second game is set for 2 p.m. Each team has won the game that was held at their home field this season. 


 

 



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