Baseball reaches conference tournament, an MIAA first

By: Alexis Stallard, Editor-In-Chief

Despite a 1-2 series loss to Northeastern University over the weekend, the Newman Jets baseball team is headed to the MIAA conference tournament for the first time since joining the conference in 2020.

This also marks the first time that the team has advanced to a conference post-season tournament since 2014. The Jets ended the regular season with a 22-28 record and are No. 7 in the 10-team conference.

The team will face Missouri Southern University this weekend in a three-game series at MSSU. If it wins, it will advance to the next round of playoffs, which will be held at the University of Central Missouri.

While the team’s recent successes have provided momentum, Head Coach Drew Maus said he knows that the Jets have to work harder.

“Though it’s nice to check off something from the list as we win, expectations are going to be higher going into the tournament,” Maus said. “We have to play like we expect to be here every year.”

Recently, the Jets took a series win against Pittsburg State, the No. 3 seed at the time, and that kept their hopes alive for making the conference tournament. Senior first baseman Jenner Steele was awarded MIAA Hitter of the Week and NCBWA Player of the Week after his performance throughout the weekend at Pittsburg. He had six hits, four home runs, and eight RBIs.

Steele has contributed to the Jet’s success all year with his performance at the plate. Earlier this year, he broke Newman’s homerun record, which was 11, and has since hit 9 more, bringing his total for the regular season to 20. He ended the regular season with a 0.423 batting average, the highest on the team, with senior Jake Angelico behind him at 0.349. Angelico also received MIAA Hitter of the Week honors at the beginning of the season and has been a key player on the bases with 27 stolen bases on 29 attempts.

On the defensive side, Newman has been able to lean on its pitching staff at times, namely on senior Garrett VanDeventer, who ended the regular season with a 6-4 record. VanDeventer was named MIAA Pitcher of the Week twice this season.

Newman baseball will face the MSSU Lions Friday through Sunday, with Friday’s game starting at 1 p.m. To watch or keep up with the score, download the Newman Jets Athletics app in the app store and follow @NewmanJetsBB on Twitter for live tweets during the games.

PHOTO: Courtesy photo, Newman Athletics