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Baseball finds green at season opener in Kansas

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Baseball finds green at season opener in Kansas

The Luther Baseball team celebrates after at a home game versus Buena Vista University on March 23, 2018.

The Luther Baseball team celebrates after at a home game versus Buena Vista University on March 23, 2018.

Annika Vande Krol (‘19) | Photo Bureau

The Luther Baseball team celebrates after at a home game versus Buena Vista University on March 23, 2018.

Annika Vande Krol (‘19) | Photo Bureau

Annika Vande Krol (‘19) | Photo Bureau

The Luther Baseball team celebrates after at a home game versus Buena Vista University on March 23, 2018.

Leah Marxhausen, Staff Writer

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The Luther Baseball team opened their season winning three games and losing one in two seven-inning double-headers against Hamline University Friday, March 1 in Pittsburg, Kansas and Saturday, March 2 in Fort Scott, Kansas.

Luther won the first game of the weekend 3-2, with help from catcher Trent Athmann’s (‘19) home run in the top of the eighth inning. The Norse secured an 11-0 win in Friday’s second game with six runs scored in the third inning. Colin Coffey (‘19) contributed to this win pitching six shutout innings.

Saturday’s first game started slow, but a walk-off allowed the Norse to pull ahead and win the game 2-1. After several scoreless innings, Luther lost their final game of the weekend 4-3.

The weekend’s results set the team up for a strong season. Catcher Daniel Opdahl (‘21) said hard fall workouts and winter lift sessions  have prepared the team for the spring season that has been long anticipated.

Annika Vande Krol (‘19)| Photo Bureau
Colin Coffey (‘21) winds up for a pitch at a home game against Buena Vista University on March 23, 2018.

“The most important goal we have is giving 100 percent effort every pitch of the game,” Opdahl said. “One overarching theme we’ve been talking a lot about as a team is competing. It doesn’t matter if we’re feeling our best or not, our goal is to compete with everything we have.”

Friday’s games included many great plays by the Norse, with Tommy Gleason (‘19) 2-for-4 in hits and driving in two runs in the third inning with a double to center field, Bryce Hingst (‘19) and Luke Plunkett (‘22) were both 3-for-4, and Kelby Johnson was 2-for-3 (‘20). On the mound, Joey Cardamon (‘19) pitched six innings, allowing two runs on five hits and striking out seven in the first game. During Friday’s second game, Coffey only allowed four hits in six innings, did not issue a walk, and struck out four Hamline Pipers.

Annika Vande Krol (‘19) |Photo Bureau
Bryce Hingst (‘19) up to bat at a home game against Loras College on April 22, 2018.

According to outfielder Matt Clark (‘19), although the team is senior-heavy, classes are strong all-around.

“We start with the basics and progress into our typical routine,” Clark said. “We know what we have, so having a routine and a clear mind is something we try to focus on in practice.”

The team used their mental and physical preparation for Saturday’s double-header as well. Gleason drove in the game-winning run of the first game in the bottom of the eighth with the bases loaded. Nate Loch (‘21) also aided this victory, as he pitched the final three frames and retired all nine batters he faced. In the second game of the day, and final game of the weekend, the Norse were tied with the Pipers 2-2 before Hamline scored two runs and took the lead. Tyler Boesel (‘21) pitched the first three innings, allowing two runs on two hits, but walked four and struck out three.

Compared to previous seasons, Opdahl believes what makes this year’s team unique is its ability to work together.

Annika Vande Krol (‘19) | Photo Bureau
Trent Athmann (‘19) rounds the bases at a home game against Buena Vista University on March 23, 2018.

“We’ve got a lot of ‘us’ guys,” Opdahl said. “Egos are set aside for the season so we can all focus on doing whatever we can as individuals to help the team win. There’s a strong brotherhood vibe around the team, and if one of us needs help, there is always someone there for them.”

According to pitcher Ozzie Suarez (‘20), the team is eager to start the season and hopes to earn a conference championship title at the end of it. With motivation and perseverance, the team is bringing their best to every practice.

“[We’re] bringing the juice every day,” Suarez said. “[We are] playing like it’s [our] last play every rep and practicing like it’s [our] last practice because you never know when it’s going to be.”

This coming weekend, the team will play Washington University-St. Louis in St. Louis before heading off to Tucson, Arizona for their spring tournament trip.

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