Hawks Baseball ready to make playoff run
Zachary Hannigan, Connection Staff
April 18, 2012
Filed under Sports
Road warriors was the name given to the Hawks by head coach Tony Bloomfield, but the season didn’t start out so well for Bloomfield’s bunch, as the baseball team dropped five of their first eight games to begin the year.
The grind of a long season has been especially tough on the Hawks this year, considering the team has not played a game at their home field all year due to construction of a new one.
“You’re always at a disadvantage because you’re not playing at your home field,” sophomore catcher Shawn Wheeler said. “You don’t know the field too well, and you’re constantly traveling. But hey, it’s baseball, and you should be able to perform anywhere you play.”
But the Hawks have started to gain momentum and confidence after getting some games under their belt. They have also played their way into second place in the Big 8 standings.
“The wheels are starting to roll and we’re starting to figure out what it takes to win and compete,” Wheeler said.
The Hawks have battled through inconsistent hitting, shaky defense and erratic pitching most of the season. However, with a combination of gritty play and a keep-your-head-down-and-battle-through-it attitude, the team has been on a roll as of late, winning nine of their last 12 games.
“It’s been a tough season so far,” freshman pitcher Austin Ales said. “We struggled a little bit, but we are starting to come around.”
While the Hawks have begun winning games (16-13), the team struggled early in the competitive Big 8 conference, losing five of their first eight conference games. But the Hawks did not fold their wings and now own a winning record in conference (11-7).
Though the season is coming to an end and the Hawks are beginning to mesh as a team, there are still things they can improve on.
“There is always room for improvement for the team,” Ales said. “Everyday it could be something different. We always need to work on the basics and keep on our game.”
Situational hitting has also proved difficult for the Hawks this season.
“Hitting in timely situations has been a problem,” Wheeler said. “We need to finish games with the same intensity that we started with.”
Sophomore outfielder Colby Brenner reiterated on some of the team’s hitting woes.
“We need to work on getting ahead in the count,” he said. “As hitters, we need to not leave as many guys on base.”
While the team has struggled with some aspects of the game, they have also excelled in other aspects.
“Some of our strengths are freshman pitching, getting on base and competitiveness; everyone is in the game,” Wheeler said.
The Hawks only have a handful of games left and are primed to make a push for the playoffs.