Rain, rain, (eventually) went away…

charlie-brown-rain

 

After returning from Florida and finally getting rid of all the Dubuque snow, we came home and had to deal with weeks of continuous rain in and around Dubuque. Thankfully Mother Nature decided to cooperate long enough for the Duhawks to start their road to Cedar Rapids. We started our journey in Pella where we took on the defending regular season champions, Central. Everyone wanted to start conference off on the right foot and we played like it, jumping out to a huge early lead in the first game and never looked back. We carried that momentum into the second game looking to take both from the Dutch after losing the series to them last year. We got off to a rough start getting behind early thanks to some poor pitching by myself, but the offense and the bullpen didn’t quit. We managed to battle back and take the second, completing the rain shortened “sweep.”

Following the games against Central we headed to Mt. Vernon to play a former conference member Cornell. We ended up losing the game 17-6 in an ugly game that seemed to take back any of the momentum that we had picked up earlier in the week. Thankfully the performance occurred out of conference and we had two days of practice to get back on the right track heading into the Simpson series.

The following weekend we were at home to face Simpson, who swept last year’s series from us, looking to get some revenge on the Storm. Behind some great pitching and some timely hitting, we were able to take all four games with the help of two huge walk-off hits by Sous and Pudlo. The four game sweep was the first for Duhawk baseball in Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference history. The entire series we seemed to have the edge and the swagger that we will need to be successful this year. The series also got us off to a red hot start of 6-0 leaving us flying high going into the following weekend’s series against the team picked to win the conference this year, Wartburg.

Unfortunately, the Wartburg series did not live up to our billing however. We ended up getting swept, losing big in the first game 13-3, starting the series off on the wrong foot. The final three games, despite the scores, were deceivingly close with our offense being one big hit away from regaining momentum and being able to take at least one of the remaining three games.

We had to shake off the loses against Wartburg quickly with our crosstown rivals, UD coming to Petrakis to play half of our four game series. Going into the games, we had little pitching remaining following the weekend and needed three of our pitchers, Will, Ben, and JG to turnaround on short rest to pitch the 7-inning game of our twin billing. The three pitched exceptionally and led us to a 1-0 victory following Mike’s second walk-off hit of the year. Riding that momentum we looked to take the second from the Spartans, hopefully with a little less of the dramatics of the first game. The offense sputtered, however, and we lost the second game. Ask anyone on the team and they’ll tell you that losing the second game of any doubleheader feels more like losing both and definitely takes away from the great team win we had in the first game.

This past weekend we headed on the road again to face Coe in Cedar Rapids hoping to recover from last weekend’s disappointment and show the other coaches that despite our recent struggles, we are not an eight place team (where we were voted to finish in the conference). Again, we struggled to get things going and dropped all four to the Kohawks. Despite losing all four, we were in every single game and one big hit, pitch, or play in any of the four would have potentially won us the game. Obviously losing 8 of our last 9 in conference isn’t ideal, but we have a group of guys that are determined to prove the opposing coaches wrong and be a team that no one wants to play heading into the conference tournament. Fortunately, we still sit in third place in the conference in very good position to make the tournament in May. We have two and a half series remaining to cement our position in the tournament and if we get back the swagger we had after starting 6-0, we have a very good chance of not only making the tournament, but doing some damage and making a run for all of our seniors.

- #36

Winter Warm-Up, Duhawks Edition

The Fieldhouse now houses a cage area for the Duhawks!

The Fieldhouse now houses a cage area for the Duhawks!

ADAM SCHWOEBEL IS BACK IN 2013 TO BRING YOU AN INSIDE LOOK AT LORAS COLLEGE BASEBALL. ON THE EVE OF THE FIRST DAY OF PRACTICE, HE SUBMITTED HIS FIRST BLOG ENTRY FOR 2013: 

Make up your mind Dubuque!  Just when it started to look and feel like baseball season, Mother Nature decided to gift the people of Dubuque with yet another snowfall. With Friday marking the beginning of our 2013 campaign, any slim chance of being outside has quickly disappeared. However, we are as ready as ever to start our run to a conference championship.

The Duhawks have been working hard since we were last on a baseball diamond in October; hitting the weights, getting some condo in and, of course, using our brand new hitting facility.

Not only have the Duhawks been busy preparing for the upcoming season, but many were also busy with academic related endeavors. A large majority of players remained in Dubuque by taking a J-Term, while others were out seeing the world. (i.e. Jake Norton)

I even did a little. Two weeks ago, Jabo and I volunteered at the St. Louis Cardinals Winter Warm-Up where we had the task of line control and hospitality management for the first two days of the weekend event. Despite the lack of “fun” in our duties, we were able to get a glimpse into what it is like working in the sport industry as Sport Management majors while getting to see an eclectic group, and to say the least, interesting people.

(One die-hard Cardinals fan was dressed in a Cardinals red t-shirt, a team hat, as well as completing his look with grey baseball pants. And did I mention this man was in his 40s?)

The biggest non-baseball related news of the off-season came when our very own SAAC master, Travis Misner, was elected Chairman of the NCAA Division III Student Athlete Advisory Committee. A big congrats to Trav, from myself and everyone else on the team. Come Thursday, most of the guys will be back in town ready for the first day of our journey where it will be all systems go in the Graber Dome. We only have a month to be ready for Florida, and as we always do, we will be getting better every day.

See you in Florida!

‘Crunch Time’

Schwoebel returns with lotsa words

 

This is going to be long, but we have a lot of catching up to do.

Crunch time is the simplest way to describe the remainder of the season for us. After a needed Easter break, we headed to Luther to finish up our series against the Norse. The game was highly contested with both teams, especially us, missing good opportunities to gain old MO and put the game away. In the end we let Luther hang around for too long and it came back to hurt as we lost on a walk off. The loss certainly left a bitter taste in everyone’s mouth and it will definitely be a game we look back on if we miss the conference tournament by one or two games.

We did not have long to dwell on that walk off loss because one of the IIAC’s best, Coe, was coming to Petrakis in another series that we needed to get some wins to keep our hopes alive. On top of the importance of the weekend series, we were holding our BaseBALD event in conjunction with Coe and Capri College. In the series opener we hung with the Kohawks up until the 8th when Coe strung five straight hits against me, breaking the game open. What hurts the most about that loss was that the guys kept battling back and getting us close and I could not keep it close enough on the mound to give our offense the chance it deserved to win the game for us. We shook off the blowout loss to come back on Saturday and were prepared to take the final two games and win the series. After going down 1 in the 2nd, we quickly came back with one of our own in the bottom half. It stayed locked at 1 until the 5th when we managed to get two across the plate taking advantage of some walks and a few Coe errors. The lead did not last as we surrendered 4 runs in the top of the 6th, squandering a chance to take the first game of the doubleheader. Much like the Luther game, this is one that will be looked back on if we do not reach the second season. We wasted no time in showing the Kohawks, and ourselves, that we were not gonna be swept that weekend. We jumped on Coe’s starter for 5 runs in the first and it was all smooth sailing from there. We got a solid pitching performance from our ace Benny C and got some big hits from multiple people, most notably our IIAC Player of the Week, Devin “Billy” “YM” Kass. The win was a big one and one that we desperately needed. The weekend series concluded with our head shaving event through St. Baldricks.

Rightfully so, our events highest earner, Rita, was front and center to get the festivities started. As they finished Rita, coaches from each side were next, and then the players’ right after them. It was a sad moment for some of my teammates as they said goodbye to hair that they had been growing for the better part of a year. I think it is safe to say the pile of hair behind our chairs was much larger than that of Coe’s. By the end of the event, we had raised over $10,000 for cancer research which was way more than our goal. The Duhawks would like to thank everyone that was involved, especially Rita, for their time and help in making our event a success.

The following Tuesday, we headed to Rock Island to play Augustana for the third time this season. The 2-1 win was a whole team win with strong defense and a big hit from Joe in the 7th to give us the 1-0 lead. Our own Austin Safranski even managed to vulture a win in the process giving him 2 on the year.

Again we headed into the weekend conference series needing to get some wins to keep the playoff hopes alive. The Friday game we came out pretty flat and did not seem ready to play allowing Wartburg to get a 7-0 lead in just the third. We never came back from our slow start and dropped the game 9-2. In the first game on Saturday, we jumped out to a 4-0 lead through two, but the lead was short lived as some unfortunate events and a mess of a play allowed the Knights to score 5 and take the lead which they would not relinquish the rest of the game. Wartburg tacked on 3 more runs in the 5th and took the game 8-4. Game 3 was one we needed more than ever and our starting pitcher, Ben Cottrell came up big and got us the 5-1 win to salvage the series. The one negative I have to say about Ben’s performance is that we did not receive pitcher’s BP and the whole staff blames him.

 

We had another quick turnaround as yesterday we headed down Loras Blvd. to our rivals down the road to play the first two games of our series with UD. In the first game, the Spartans and we were locked in a scoreless game until the 10th when we took advantage of two errors and got a big sac fly by Bill giving us the one run we needed to take the victory. That was not the last of the excitement. UD got a runner to second with 1 out and their four hitter singled up the middle, but Joe made an amazing diving stop and got up to gun the would be tying run out at the plate. The offense was scarce once again in game two with us getting the 2-1 win. We head to BV this weekend for a three game series hoping to put ourselves in a position that would get us in the tournament. As the season continues these conference games only get bigger and bigger.

‘This team does not quit’

Trip down the road yields two wins over UD

Coming into the final stretch of the season, this team is hitting its stride.  Better late than never.  After dropping a couple games to Wartburg, we bounced back on the arm of Benny C and managed to take a pretty crucial game from the Knights last Saturday.  We used that momentum as we traveled to UD for an afternoon pair of games.  This double header proved to have heavy importance as this program looks to reach the conference tournament for the first time since 2009.  By winning two games, we would only help our chances.  I think our guys knew that this past Tuesday.

With only 5 hits, we took care of two HUGE wins against the cross town rivals.  That’s how I know this team is good.  We made things happen without having our best offensive stuff.  Our pitching was outstanding. Adam Schwoebel, looking like his normal “pitcher of the week” self, threw a great game one.  This team always seems to make things interesting.  We had that in game one.  We managed to plate a run in the top of the 10th a walk by Joe Walker followed by a sac fly from Billy the Kid.  In a game that showed quiet bats, we utilized great defense and outstanding pitching efforts to get the job done. Shout out to Spence for coming in and doing what he does best.

Game two provided us with a seemingly equal battle.  Quiet bats were overruled by outstanding defensive, especially up the middle.  We were able to score a run right off the bat by taking advantage of some Canny speed. We then secured the go ahead run in the 6th with another sacrifice fly, this time by Mike Pudlo.  Safranski once again delivered a solid performance and gave us a chance to win, JG came in and threw about 98 mph to get the save and send the Spartans to a 4-13 IIAC record.

We now head across the state for a Saturday/Sunday double header. BV will test us, but I really believe we can use our momentum to secure our spot in the conference tourney.  This team does not quit, and I think we are peaking at just the right time.  We have proven that we can win under any circumstance, and I think that is something that opponents should be concerned about.  We are right there, we just have to go and take it.

-#7

The calendar turns to April

A lot has happened since the trip to Minneapolis.  After a decently successful series against Concordia-Moorhead, we hit a pretty big bump.  We lost 5 straight, starting with a heartbreaker against UW Platteville.  Once again, our former Freshman Athlete of the year, Austin Safranski , gave us a great chance to win.  In my opinion, UWP was the best team we faced.  Saf battled hard, and gave us 5 solid innings, and kept us in it the whole way through.  A tough 3-4 loss would be the indicator of what was to come in the following days. Three straight losses to Simpson combined with dropping 2 of 3 to central had us kicking dirt and wondering why this game is so damn frustrating at times.  We lost some close games, and the road ahead is not getting any easier.  But there was light at the end of this tunnel.

The Norse of Luther came to town and we came right out of the gate, beating them twice.  Miles put together a great pitching performance, and the workhorse Canny added two RBI’s.  Mike Pudlo added two knocks to help push us through to a much needed win.

Game two had my co-blogger Adam geared up to send the Norse back to Decorah winless.  Although “Mr. Pneumonia” didn’t have his best stuff, he buckled down threw well.  Our bullpen stepped up and Jeremy Gerardy used the ever flowing red mane to pick up the win.  Oh and the sidewinder Spencer picked up his 3rd save of the season, and 11th of the career.  We managed to plate 6 runs, with two knocks a piece for Mr. Clay Henricksen and “Billy the Kid” Kass.

We continued the winning ways in Monmouth Illinois.  We took two games from the Fighting Scots and managed 21 hits in the double header.  Bomb from The Dogger man JR, T.O., and some kid named Devin helped in securing the first victory.  We made game two interesting, and went to extras.  Big time senior leadership came from DH/Catcher Travis Olson when he singled to take the lead in the top of the 9th.  Billy added a security RBI single, scoring Canny and making the score 3-1.  Spence picked up another save (4th of the year) and got the Duhawks out of the 9th with the win.

After a nice Easter break, we head into the toughest part of our schedule.  With a midweek game at Luther followed by a tough home series against Coe this weekend, we have to continue to play our best baseball.  These are crucial games on our quest to the IIAC tourney, and it starts this Wednesday in Decorah.

#7

Schwoebel wins in the Metrodome, misses UWP

SCHWOEBEL SPENDS SOME TIME BATTLING ILLNESS AHEAD OF IIAC OPENER

 

Our schedule took us the way of Minnesota to play four games, two double-headers, against Concordia-Moorhead. Everyone was ready to get going again after our long lay-off since Florida and we were lucky enough to bring everyone on the team along with us for this trip. In the first game we lost 2-1 despite a solid pitching performance from Benny C who ended up taking the tough loss. We just could not seem to have that inning where we strung some hits together to score a run or had a big play causing a momentum shift. It just ended up not being our day against the tough lefty that Concordia threw against us.  After a quick turnaround for the 2nd game, we were able to respond by securing a 4-2 victory. Although losing the first game of the trip was not ideal, it was relieving to take the 2nd and split the first day, getting my bud and staff-mate, Will Petrosky his first win as a Duhawk.

The second day went the same as the first ending in a split. In the first game, a few defensive miscues and a couple well-placed hits gave the Cobbers all the runs they needed. Looking back it is quite disappointing thinking that one less mistake or one less bloop single could have given the game a whole different outlook than the 4-3 extra-inning loss it was. To cap off the trip, we brought our hittin’ sticks. We ended up scoring 11 runs with an offensive explosion in the 6th inning that blew it away late. As a team, we all would much rather have ended the trip 4-0 or 3-1, but we are still working out some early season kinks and we have to remember that it is not yet conference and we will certainly have everything sorted out by then and we will be ready to roll this weekend.

Hopefully Kev did a good job of covering the Platteville game because I was unable to attend after spending two separate nights in the ER eventually learning that I have pneumonia. I am starting to feel much better and am hoping that I will be 100% by Saturday so I can contribute this weekend.

 

#36

After Florida, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, Iowa baseball around the corner

The Duhawks split four games in the Metrodome this year with Concordia-Moorhead

 

After a 2-2 trip to the Minneapolis, and a tough loss to Platteville, we sit at 8-5.

We left pretty early for the dome, 5:45 am to be precise.  The long bus trip to (God’s Country) Minnesota was well worth it, as we got to play in the former home of the Minnesota Twins.

After dropping the first game to Concordia-Moorhead 1-2, we bounced back and won 4-2.   I had a moment of déjà vu when we dropped the first and third games by a run.  It reiterated our trouble in the past year.  We have always been right there, and it’s frustrating to come up short, especially in these very winnable games.   It’s not from lack of effort, that’s for sure.  Our team works hard, and competes every day.  Solid performances came from freshmen pitchers Will Petrosky and my blogging buddy Adam Schwoebel.  Offensively, Billy Kass continues to showcase his pow-pow, with another bomb where Kirby Puckett used to hit ‘em.

Our loss against Platteville saw a very impressive performance from senior Austin Safranski.  Pitching 5.1 innings, Saf gave us a chance to win.  He didn’t walk a batter, and threw a runner out at the plate to keep us in contention.  I was impressed with his presence on the mound, and his ability to lead this team.  It was not enough for us to get the W however, and we dropped another close one, 3-4.  Platteville is probably one of the best teams we have seen so far, and it’s only going to get tougher down the stretch.

We head into conference play this weekend against Simpson, and they are always a tough team.   It will be good to get into conference play, and showcase the talent our team has this year.  We need to come in with some good confidence this weekend.  One run losses need to turn into wins, and we have to keep fighting to reach that tournament and title.

-7

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