Through seven innings, the boys played a tight 3-3 ball game. Junior pitcher Ryan Hammonds pitched another strong start, going seven and two-thirds innings with four strikeouts and three walks.
Despite a good start from the Crusader’s ace, the team could not overcome the five-run inning from LeTourneau University in the top of the eighth. Nevertheless, the game was a good sign for Hammonds, who has been struggling with severe arm pain after most starts this season.
“My pitching performance was a tough one,” Hammonds said. “We battled it out neck to neck, but fell apart at the end. My arm feels great, though.”
Conference play does not start until May 19 at Trinity University, so while victories are indeed important, the team is thankful for the health of its most valuable players.
Senior outfielder Luciano Villanueva also reflected upon the weekend performance.
“It was a heartbreaker in the first game [against LeTourneau],” Villanueva said. “In the second game they brought their bats to start. But we found a way to hold them for the rest of the game.”
In the team’s second game against LeTourneau on Saturday, the Crusaders fell 0-10 after relinquishing 7 runs in the top of the first inning and being unable to answer with any runs of their own.
As a senior, Villanueva looks forward to the future that a young team will bring.
“I think with the youth on the team that we show a lot of heart, but need a lot of improvement in small areas of the game,” Villanueva said. “If we can put everything together, we are going to be a dangerous, gritty, powerhouse team.”
This young team has small things to work on, and this season is still getting started. Fans should be optimistic about the rest of the season, and come out to support the team more than ever.