Baseball splits two

Ian Sales ’15 has been one of the Pioneer’s top pitchers this season. Photo by Chris Lee

Ian Sales ’15 has been one of the Pioneer’s top pitchers this season. Photo by Chris Lee

Last weekend for the Grinnell baseball team was hit with an unexpected surprise. Early last Friday, the team received notice that the Sunday twin bill against Cornell College had been moved up two days, to later that evening.

When referring back the games last weekend, Teague Towner ’17 seemed to find it complicated to answer how the team did.

“That’s kind of a difficult question,” Towner said. “We were supposed to play on Saturday and Sunday but because of the weather it got pushed early to Friday. So we played on from seven to midnight on Friday night and that was at Cornell.”

The Pioneers dropped both games Friday night, 3-4 and 1-5.

“Unfortunately, we had other opportunities earlier in the game, we just did not execute or play team baseball. We did a lot of things right, but in the end it is about execution and we didn’t get it done on Friday,” said head coach Tim Hollibaugh.

After arriving back on campus at 2 a.m., the team got up early to prepare for another doubleheader versus Cornell. Despite this, the Pioneers completely turned the tables in Saturday’s game, picking up two victories. After playing away for almost five weeks, the ease of being at a home game definitely showed in the team’s successful wins in the second part of the series.

“I think it was more of an aggressive mindset that changed,” Hollibaugh said. “We had a nice team chat after the game on Friday and revisited these same things before the game on Saturday. Our entire team was mentally prepared for the games on Saturday, which is a big reason for our success.”

In the game, Towner tied a NCAA Division III record with three sacrifice hits. The rest of the team also displayed an impressive comeback, sweeping away the leftover disappointments from Friday’s loss with scores of 11-1 and 3-2.

“We were patient at the plate,” Hollibaugh said. “We also gained valuable experience playing under the lights Friday night against a couple of good pitchers, which helped us going into Saturday … It was just good old-fashioned team baseball, which has been our trademark for many years.”

Coming up next for the Pioneers, who now have a 11-15 record, is another series against a Conference opponent, Knox College.

“This week, we’re focusing on a lot of hitting because our hitting was that great this past weekend,” Towner said. “A lot of scrimmages this week. We’re doing a lot of repetitions, a lot of games. We always have meetings before the series to look over other teams, other players and who to watch out for and how to position against other hitters.”

The Pioneers will play Knox this weekend, Saturday in Galesburg, Illinois and Sunday at home at 1 p.m.