Yellow Squad Earns Bragging Rights in Wings Series
By: Kyle Showalter
PC baseball’s annual Wings Series came to a close on October 13th, with the Yellow Squad defeating the Black Squad in the championship series 2 games to 1. The Yellow Squad, led by Coach Ryan Ellingson, and the Black Squad, led by coaches Lane Hovde and Ryan Barker, played a fun, competitive series that showcased great baseball from both teams.
The Wings Series is structured as such: the two teams play a five game series over the course of two weeks. Those games will decide seeding for the championship series, which is a three game series following the original five game series. Whichever team wins the five game series automatically is awarded a 1-0 game lead in the championship series.
The five game series was all Black Squad. Inspired by their rallying cry “Night train rolls!”, they won the first game of the series by a score of 4-3 off the back of an impressive start by senior pitcher KC Proctor, who struck out 6 batters across 6 complete innings of work while allowing only 1 earned run. The offensive output was led by sophomore outfielder Dryden Kaczmar, who went 2-4 at the plate with a double and a two-run homerun to right center field.
Game two was more of the same from the Black Squad, as a dominant pitching performance once again propelled them to a 1 run victory, a 2-1 final score. This time it was sophomore Joey Wollman with the electric pitching performance, going 6 full innings, striking out 8 batters and giving up no earned runs. The Black Squad earned the victory on a walk-off throwing error in the eighth inning, which propelled them to a 2-0 lead in the series.
Game three saw an offensive explosion by both teams. A big second inning by the Black Squad saw them tally all five of their runs in the game, two of them on a long two-run homerun off the bat of redshirt junior Jesse Spangler. After that, it was all Yellow Squad. Their bats showed up in a big way in the game, powering up for 9 runs on 9 hits. Three Yellow Squad players, sophomore outfielder Johnny Radomskiy, senior utility-man Blake Crain, and junior infielder Eric Hernandez, tallied multiple hits in the game. Senior pitcher Giovanni Arieta was impressive in the win, going 6.2 innings and striking out 5 batters.
Game four continued the theme of high flying offense with both teams combining for 15 runs on 16 hits. A triple by Jesse Spangler followed by a double by Dryden Kaczmar put the black squad up 7-3 heading into the top of the seventh inning. The yellow squad responded by scoring three quick runs and again loading the bases with the score now reading 7-6. A foul pop out would end the Yellow Squad’s comeback attempt, giving the Black Squad the win, and in turn gave them a 3-1 game win in the seeding series. This gave them a 1-0 game lead heading into the championship series.
Facing a 1-0 game deficit in the championship series didn’t seem to bother the Yellow Squad. Coach Ellingson’s team came out red hot, scoring 6 runs in the first four innings. Again three members of the Yellow Squad delivered a multi-hit game: freshman catcher Easton Braden, junior infielder Eric Hernandez, and junior utility man Marcus Warscher, who tallied a team high three hits while also stealing two bases. Senior James Lewis pitched an absolute gem, going 6 full innings while allowing 1 run on five hits, striking out 5. The game would end with a final score of 8-4, giving the Yellow Squad the victory.
With the championship series now tied 1-1, it all came down to one game. The Black Squad, the road team for the game, sent out KC Proctor to face off against Giovanni Arieta. The Yellow Squad again came out of the gates hot, putting up 5 runs in the first four innings. The middle of the order gave the Yellow Squad the production it needed, as the 4-5-6 combination of sophomore first baseman Austin Crain, sophomore infielder Kyle Showalter, and again senior utility-man Blake Crain would score 4 of the teams 5 runs in the game. The real story, however, resides within the pitching performance of Giovanni Arieta. Riding high on the momentum of his strong showing in game 3 of the seeding series, he continued his dominance by throwing a complete 7 inning game while only giving up one run. The last out of the game came off the bat of senior infielder Andrew Wright, who looked like he had a base hit before the ball deflected off the leg of Arieta to the second baseman Kyle Showalter, who fired the ball to first to record the final out. The celebration ensued as the Yellow Squad captured the championship.
The Saints resume play February 24th against Mount Marty College on the road in Yankton, South Dakota. New head coach Mike Dahl looks to lead the team to new heights this upcoming season, and from the looks of the Wings Series, good baseball is on the horizon.