By Casey Pickard
The late February snow storms that affected the Portland area forced the Lewis & Clark men’s baseball team to cancel practices prior to their season opener.
“The recent storms have definitely affected our recent schedule, especially with school being shut down for the better part of two days,” Sammy Benbow ’21 said. The team was not able to practice on Feb. 20 or Feb. 21.
On Feb. 24, the men’s baseball team opened their season 37 miles away at Linfield College’s Roy Helser Field. The Pios competed as the home team since the games were supposed to be played at LC’s Huston Field, but it wasn’t suitable to play on due to the snow. The team lost to Pacific Lutheran University (PLU) with a score of 9-1. PLU gained seven of their nine runs in the final four innings.
The snow days left the team without two days of practices and a field to play on.
“We only had two days to prepare for our series over the weekend,” Benbow said.
The Pios were only able to play two games against PLU, as the third game was cancelled due to rain.
Austin Coniff ’19 pitched for four of the nine innings since the Pios were down two starting pitchers.
“Too many missed opportunities,” Coach Matt Kosderka said about the game. “Austin Coniff was an awesome relief. We needed someone to give us quality innings and Austin really stepped up.”
David Schmidt ’21 explained that the coaches are fixing their focus on positive reinforcement and assuring the team that they should take pride in their performance.
“A lot of the focus this year has been in doing the small things right as well as establishing the mental game of baseball,” Schmidt said.
“After our games each weekend, we fill out a mental game evaluation sheet where we talk about what we did well mentally and what to work on,” Benbow said. He added that the coaches are always supportive of the team, no matter their performance results.
LC’s second game of the opening weekend was postponed due to rain, but took place on Feb. 25 at George Fox University’s Morse Athletic Fields. The Pios lost to PLU again, 18-8.
PLU gained their first four runs in the first inning and scored another five in the second. LC scored their first run at the end of the second inning when Cooper Larson ’19 doubled to the left center. Soon after, there was a heavy downpour that resulted in a 30-minute delay.
Larson picked the game back up with another double down, gaining three more points for the Pios. Following suit, Ryan Ericksen ’19 ran the team up to a total of eight points with his first home run of the season. However, LC failed to score anymore runs after that.
To finish off the game, PLU scored a pair of runs in the fifth inning, four runs in the seventh and three runs in the eighth.
The Pios will compete in a three-game series against the University of Puget Sound on the Logger Baseball Field on March 3 at 11 a.m.