Sports

Foresters hit the fields to start 2016 seasons

The baseball and softball teams are chasing conference championships this season after facing tough non-conference play.

GROUNDER: Jamar Weaver, a sophomore second baseman, fields a ball in the Foresters’ home game Mar. 12. (Photo provided by HU Athletics)
GROUNDER: Jamar Weaver, a sophomore second baseman, fields a ball in the Foresters’ home game Mar. 12.
(Photo provided by HU Athletics)

The HU baseball team (8-17) has had a tough pre-conference schedule, which is no coincidence. Coach Mike Frame wanted his team to “work towards competing at a high level” in order to propel the team into Crossroads League play. Frame is proud of the effort and resilience his players show when playing tough opponents.

Pitcher Connor West said, “We are not where we want be at this point in the season, record-wise. However, we are working to get to where we need to be.”

The Foresters enjoyed a four-game win streak before losing to Indiana Tech (22-3) on March 29th. Tech jumped out to a 6-0 lead before HU got going offensively. HU rallied to score three runs in the eighth inning but the momentum was cut short. Adam Roser had three of the Foresters’ eight hits for the night while Mike Crowley’s single drove in two runs and Dalton Combs, Crossroads Player of the Week, had the only other RBI for HU. Connor West pitched the first five innings and and gave up two hits, three runs, only one of which was earned, and three walks while striking out six. Indiana Tech took the game 8-3.

The night before, the Foresters took an early lead and held onto it, beating Robert Morris University 7-2. Crowley led the charge with two hits and two RBI. Adam Roser and Shea Beauchamp had two hits and an RBI each. The Foresters outhit their opponents 10-6. Freshman DJ Moore pitched the first five innings, earning his first collegiate win. Moore struck out six batters and walked two, while giving up three hits and one unearned run. Caleb Landrum then relieved Moore for the last four innings and gave up three hits and one run.

As the Foresters head into more conference play, they have goals in mind.

“We want to play for a regular season Crossroads League Championship,” Coach Frame said. “If we cannot win the regular season championship, then we want to work to qualify for a national tournament bid through the league tournament.”

The players know that there will be bumps in the road, but are determined to overcome those obstacles.

“I enjoy helping this team get better every day in any way possible so we can achieve the goals we’ve set,” Dalton Combs stated.

Meanwhile, HU softball team has made a quick dash to the top of the Crossroads League. The Foresters are 11-7 overall and 6-2 in the Crossroads League, coming off of a win over Mount Vernon Nazarene University on Saturday. It was the fifth win for the Foresters in six games. Against MVNU, Alyssa Hiple had two hits and three RBI to lead HU offensively. Audra Klopfenstein also had two hits while driving in two runs. Emily Puterbaugh pitched first and was relieved by Ariel Sheets in the third inning.

Coach Doug Gower has high expectations for the Lady Foresters this year.

“We expect to win any game we play,” Gower said. “We want to win the league or the tournament, and our only goal is to get back to nationals.”

Senior second-baseman Katie DePew said she is optimistic about the season and knows  team chemistry is a key to success.

“We are currently at the top of the conference, and there is a lot of potential to win the regular season conference play,” Depew said. “I think the thing that has helped us the most this far is our team chemistry.”

Depew also attributes the success and potential for the season to senior pitchers Emily Puterbaugh and Ariel Sheets. Puterbaugh knows as a pitcher and a senior, the team will be feeding off of her and she could be vital to the team’s success.

“My role on the team is to lead by example by staying calm, cool and collected in tough situations or when things aren’t going our way, and to continuously support and encourage my teammates,” Puterbaugh said.

The Foresters are a team to watch this year, as they are hungry for a national tournament bid after missing last season’s.

Gower said, “This team’s greatest weakness is not realizing how good it can be.”

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