SHARE

The baseball team lost 11 of the 12 games it played down south over spring break.

“A rough trip,” said head coach Eric Theisen.

The Chargers played non-con­ference teams in Louisville, Ky., and Clear­water, Fla., between March 8. and Mar. 15. They lost all but the week’s last game against Lock Haven Uni­versity.

Theisen said he hopes last week’s string of losses will prove a mile­stone for the team.

“We needed that,” Theisen said. “Baseball is a very hum­bling game. Some­times you don’t fight until you taste your own blood.”

By the numbers, the Chargers actually outhit the other teams, 121 to 116, over the week. Before the last three games, however, runs were hard to come by.

Going into their Friday game against Uni­versity of Min­nesota — Crookston, the Chargers were aver­aging an anemic three runs per game. But then their bats woke up, cracking 45 hits in three games.

Hillsdale scored six runs against Min­nesota and nine against Mans­field Uni­versity. But they still lost each game by a single run.

Coming just short was a theme of Hillsdale’s week. They lost five games by two runs or less.

Theisen attributed the team’s losses to “small mis­takes,” and a mis­man­aging of the game’s “little things.”

“Myself included,” Theisen said. “Every­thing in baseball is a little thing. Some­thing we say is ‘sweat the small stuff.’”

Eleven straight losses behind them, ended the week on a high note: They crushed Lock Haven Uni­versity, 16 – 5.

Hillsdale’s scoring bonanza started early. With two outs in the second inning, sophomore Connor Bartlett knocked a single into right field, scoring freshman Ethan Wiskur. A double from junior Vinny Del­icata and a single from sophomore Luke Ortel put Hillsdale up, 3 – 0.

Lock Haven came back with five runs in the 4th inning, but Hillsdale responded with a two-run 5th inning, a three-run 6th, and an eight-run 8th. Hillsdale recorded 20 hits in the game to Lock Haven’s 10.

Lock Haven couldn’t score another runner, and Hillsdale finally got the week’s first victory.

“Any team knows 16 runs won’t happen every game,” Theisen said. “Our approaches and men­tal­ities to each game must remain the same because that will not.”

The team started fig­uring out those approaches by the end of the week, Theisen said.

“We are a dif­ferent team now than when we went down there,” he said.

On the pitching side of things, junior Shane Arm­strong said Hillsdale’s rotation threw well. The week’s intense schedule of games taxed the bullpen par­tic­u­larly. Every pitcher on the team got a chance to help share the workload and gain some in-game expe­rience.

“Which is awesome,” Arm­strong said, “because everyone has some pitching under their belt, and it won’t be a shock for them in con­ference play, where it matters a little bit more.”

Hillsdale College baseball begins GLIAC play today at Adrian College against Grand Valley State Uni­versity. Last week’s games were all non-con­ference, meaning they don’t count against the team’s post-season ambi­tions.

Going into the GVSU game, Arm­strong said the team is opti­mistic — even if last week didn’t go exactly as planned.

“Next game, our record is 0 and 0, and any­thing can happen,” Arm­strong said.