Baseball and Softball prepare to head out on their big spring break voyages
By Peter Melling /// Sports Editor
Now that spring break is upon the Baseball and Softball Pioneers, they have set their minds on their respective midseason road trips. Baseball will go south to the Tucson Invitational in Tucson, Arizona, while softball heads east to play Eastern Oregon University in La Grande, Oregon and College of Idaho in Caldwell, Idaho. These excursions will be an excellent barometer for the Pio’s status going into the final month of the season and the Northwest Conference playoffs.
Over the past two weeks, baseball has gone 2-5, putting their record at 8-12 and their conference record at 3-6. During those last seven games, the team has hit for a .219 average while surrendering 62 runs and 21 errors. These games will hopefully be only a rough patch for the team, as they look to rebuild their stamina for the road trip. “In this game, confidence is key. It ebbs and flows. It’s up and it’s down. Confidence is really, really important,” said Head Coach Tom Flynn, in an interview with LCPioneers.com. Traveling down to Tucson will provide the team with a variety of opponents, like the DePauw University Tigers (4-4), the Williams University Ephs (0-0) and the Oberlin College Yeomen (0-2). The team’s path through the rest of the NWC will be rocky, but hopefully the travel time will refresh the team in their quest to be Coach Flynn’s first NWC tournament squad.
Softball has had extra rest before they head east. Owing to rain, the team postponed their four-game weekend series against Puget Sound, which leaves their record at 6-9, with a 1-6 conference record. This time off will rest the team for their slate of competition over the next two weeks. Starting with a short trip to Pacific Lutheran University on March 19, the squad will then face off against the Eastern Oregon Mountaineers (8-12) and the College of Idaho Yotes (5-6-1). While not part of an invitational, this excursion will still allow the team to get themselves focused on finishing strong and building towards the future of the program. “The NWC in softball is always tough, and it seems like it gets tougher every year,” said Head Coach Shawna Cyrus, “There really aren’t any teams that you can take lightly.” A small diversion away from the NWC will help the Pios return to conference play with a new vigor, one which may characterize the rest of the season.
Once their long trips wrap up, both Baseball and Softball will go on smaller NWC excursions. Baseball will wrap up Spring Break in a three-game series against the Whitworth University Pirates (14-4, 6-3 in conference), while Softball heads off to play the Willamette University Bearcats (5-1, 5-1 in conference). These games will put each squad’s road experience to the test and could set the tone for the rest of their seasons. Baseball will have two home series left, one from April 2-3 against Whitman and another from April 16-17 against Pacific Lutheran. Softball also has two home series left (four games against Pacific (Oregon) from April 9-10 and two games against George Fox on April 16), with the last series featuring a small trip to George Fox’s field. This final stretch will show how ready both the Baseball and Softball Pioneers are for NWC contention, and how far each team has come since the season’s start.