Opening day: Arguably the two greatest words in baseball. A year removed from being only two wins shy of their first ever trip to the World Series, the Westmont baseball team enters the season as the No. 15 team in the nation, and on paper, they look like they could be the team that finally gets the Warriors on a plane to Lewiston, Idaho.
The journey to the World Series is a long one; for the Warriors, the journey begins in late
August. While most students get reacquainted with their friends and class schedules, the
Westmont ballplayers return to the field, practicing for six days a week for hours on end, to go
along with three morning workouts as well. They take grounder after grounder and swing after
swing all fall long, just waiting for the calendar to turn to spring so that they can prove that
months and preparation and hard work pays off. On opening day this past Tuesday, they
proved just that.
The Warriors’ 5-3 victory on opening day over the Marymount Mariners was a sight for
sore eyes, especially for baseball fans who have been forced to fast from the game they love for too long. The Warriors got the line moving quickly in the bottom of the first inning when senior Isaiah Leach drove in his fellow podcast-mate senior Taylor Garcia with a double down the right field line, setting the stage for Travis Vander Molen to claim the day as his own. On a 3-2 pitch in his first at bat in 2020, Vander Molen just cleared the fence in right field for home run number one, giving the Warriors a 3-0 lead — and he wasn’t done there.
Later in the fifth inning, Vander Molen added to the lead by hitting an absolute mammoth shot to right; the ball found its way to Thorington Field, giving him his second opening day blast.
Vander Molen said, “Today was surreal, and a day that I’ll remember for a long time, but it also makes excited to just come out every game and have fun doing my best to help this team win.”
When the game reached the top of the ninth inning, senior flamethrower Bailey Reid struck out the side, stranding the tying run in scoring position, with runners on second and third to end the game. Reid’s save was extra special for the Reid family as he got to throw to his younger brother, freshman Catcher Simon Reid, who reached base three times and picked off a runner to end the eighth inning of his college debut.
Baseball is officially back, and the Warriors are 1-0. All is well.