Finding their groove

The Spartans baseball team, which struggled to maintain a winning streak in its first week of games, came into the Midwest Classic with the will to win, and that’s exactly what they did, according to senior Roger Robinson.

“We went 3-1 in the tournament,” Robinson said. “We beat Vianney, Glenbrook North, and Waukegan, but lost to Hickman.”

Without a doubt, this is a huge step forward for the Spartans (5-3) who have finally seem to click on all cylinders. Their first game was against Vianney (6-3). The Golden Griffins were held in check all day by the Spartans stout pitching of junior Troy Newell and senior Tanner Emring, and despite being outhit 11 to 9, the Spartans capitalized off their hits, including senior Ryan Howard’s second home run of the season. Senior Clayton Luley also had a productive outing at the plate, earning one hit along with three RBI’s, as the Spartans rolled to a 7-4 victory to start off the tournament.

The Spartans next opponent was Hickman (4-1), who was arguably their toughest opponent they faced in the tournament, according to the seeding for the tournament. Aside from three runs in the fourth inning, the Spartans potent offense was held in check, and they struggled in the field, garnering almost as many errors (four) as hits (six). Hickman scored in the first two innings along with three more in the sixth to propel themselves to a 5-3 victory.

With the loss to Hickman lingering in their minds, the Spartans next faced up against Glenbrook (Ill.) North in an instant classic that went into extra innings. The Spartans outhit North 11 to 8, and only committed two errors in the game. The Spartans started off with a 2-0 lead heading into the fourth inning, when North and Central begun scoring back and forth. With a 3-2 lead in the seventh, North was able to tie the game and send it into extra innings. The Spartans, however, would not be outdone, and in the 10th inning, they scored the eventual game winning run to win their second game in the tournament 4-3. Junior Cody Calhoun was the winning pitcher in the game.

The Spartans last game in the tournament was against Waukegan, Illinois. It was all Spartans throughout the game, as they kicked off the game with four runs in the first inning, and, along with stellar pitching by juniors Mitch Miller and Dillon Hornbuckle, the Spartans routed Waukegan 10-3 and finished the tournament at 3-1.

Robinson believes that keys they worked on before the tournament helped their success.

“We worked a lot on base running situations and pickoffs,” Robinson said.

Robinson says that the baseball team’s goals aren’t complex, but that they are crucial to the game.

“Make the routine plays and win!” Robinson exclaimed.