Baseball’s rough patch

Jakob Pierce, Contributing Writer

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Senior outfielder Luciano Villanueva bats for the Crusaders. University of Dallas photo.

This weekend was tough for the University of Dallas men’s baseball team, who played against East Texas Baptist University in a doubleheader. The Crusaders lost the first game 3-11 and the second 1-6, with junior pitchers Ryan Hammonds and Eric Felchak receiving the losses, respectively.

The Crusaders struggled early in the first game and allowed another big inning in the second matchup, which ultimately led to huge momentum changes in the contests. While the team did not necessarily play their worst game, they struggled in a few key areas.

In an interview after the game, senior pitcher Brian Donley was quite loquacious about the team’s slump.

“Right now we’re going through a rough spot,” Donley said. “But everyone believes the wins will come. As a team, we need to make sure we don’t get ahead of ourselves and push the panic button.”

Donley referenced an old baseball saying as a means to cope with the slump.

“This is a very simple game,” Donley said. “You throw the ball, you catch the ball, you hit the ball. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose and sometimes it rains.”

Donley’s attitude reflects the general optimism the team still has for the season. Once conference play opens up, the team will need to start winning more series. Now is the best time to work out all the kinks in the team and figure out who will fill which role.

Junior outfielder/pitcher Avery Arnold served as an example of this optimism.

“We still have a lot of work to do,” Arnold said. “It’s a hard process, but I believe in the fellas. It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish that is important.”

While the team has a few things to work on in practice, it is clear they still have the potential to succeed, especially with a young, gritty team. Luckily, the errors and mental mistakes from the weekend are a simple fix: eliminate big innings and clean up the play.

They will have an opportunity to do so this coming weekend as they take on LeTourneau University in a doubleheader on Saturday here in Irving.

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