Roller Coaster Start for Baseball
By: KC Proctor
After the first two weeks of their 2018 campaign, the Saints baseball team sits at a record of 6-8. Following a split of the four-game opening weekend set with Mt. Marty College—which was played in Topeka, Kansas, because of inclement weather—the squad made its annual trip to Tucson, Arizona, for the Tucson Invitational, “the home of collegiate spring training.” In the first two days of desert competition the team went a perfect 4-0 and reveled in the excitement of a 5-game winning streak. Those first four games included a come-from-behind victory over NCAA Division II Southwest Minnesota State University, a win over first-year NAIA program Ottowa University of Arizona, and a clean sweep of Dakota Wesleyan of the Great Plains Athletic Conference.
Unfortunately, the wave of early success enjoyed by the Saints came to shore and drowned the team in a high tide of top half GPAC competition in the following days. A poor defensive showing paired with a lack of life in the Saints bats led to a disappointing loss of two games to Briar Cliff. That effort was followed by two heart-breaking losses to Concordia University of Nebraska—both of which were one-run games (8-7 and 3-4), and one of which came in the form of a walk off. After dropping their Tucson Invitational record to an even 4-4, the Saints squared off with Northwestern University of Iowa, and their woes continued. Shortcomings in the final two games of the road trip served as the proverbial wake-up call for the team, as the 5-game winning streak they had previously enjoyed quickly turned to a 6-game losing spell.
With a poor taste in their mouths, the Saints head back to Aberdeen for a week of preparation before heading to Lincoln, Nebraska, for a triangular with Northwestern University and Nebraska Wesleyan.
NSAA conference competition is set to kick off for the Saints at home on March 23 against the Vikings of Valley City State University.