Though Newman’s baseball team lost its conference home opener against Lubbock Christian, it is still looking toward its next bout of conference games with confidence and assurance, said head baseball coach Zach Ehling.
The Jets opened its series against Lubbock Christian on March 29 with a two-game sweep by the Chaps. Newman fell in game one with a score of 0-1. With all of the bases loaded for the Jets, Junior Ked Bailey came up to the plate and popped off a fly to right field. This created a rundown situation between second and third and third and home that led to the Chaps victory.
In game two, the Chaps were able to hold off the Jets through their pitching and scoring in the later innings. Lubbock Christian managed to hold off the Jets 9-3.
Despite being down by two in the last innings of the game, the Jets managed to fight back on the second day with big plays by Bailey, junior Clay Druin, and sophomore Paul Rupnik. Newman won the game 5-4.
Coming off of its first game win, the Jets tried to push through and win the series but fell short. Though Newman took an early lead, the Chaps answered with a big play in the fifth inning to take the win 10-7.
Ehling said that focus and hard work are what is going to push his team forward through these next games.
“We just need to keep improving on things we can control,” Ehling said. “We need to stay in better counts while pitching and be more aggressive offensively.”
Sophomore Austin Hillhouse said that the team’s success will come from focusing on precise details.
“[We need to] keep grinding and doing the little things as a team to get the win. Every game is important,” Hillhouse said.
Ehling said that the team is working to build on every win and learn from every loss.
“We are playing really good defense, and we show ups and downs offensively and pitching-wise,” he said. “We are just trying to battle each weekend. [We] are working to improve and compete in every game.”
Redshirt Junior Sam Hersh said that the team has its strong and weak points but needs to find a balance between them and work hard.
“I would say our defense is our strongest element. We are top three in the conference in terms of fielding percentage,” Hersh said. “I wouldn’t say we have a weak area as a team. We just need to continue to be more consistent in each aspect of the game.”
The Jets take on Arkansas-Fort Smith at 1 p.m. on Friday in Fort Smith, Arkansas.
This story first appeared in the April 8, 2018 issue of The Vantage.