This past week, the Westmont baseball team competed in their first home games of the season. Due to COVID-19, these was the Warriors’ first games in a year. They hosted Lewis-Clark State from Idaho and the Firebirds of University of Saint Katherine from San Marcos, California.
The baseball team put up a solid fight in both games. They lost their first game against Lewis-Clark State 2-13, but won their second game against Saint Katherine 18-1. Although the first loss was tough, the Warriors bounced back with a great win against Saint Katherine.
Many players stood out. In the first game against Lewis-Clark State, John Jensen, a fourth-year outfielder, led the team with four hits. Also, second-year catcher Simon Reid had 13 putouts during the game.
Redshirt second-year pitcher Chad Stoner played a great game against the Firebirds. In the seven innings he played, he managed to complete five strikeouts. Fourth-year Drew Bayard hit two home runs, with two men already on base during his second one. The 12 runs scored in the 5th inning shaped the game. The Warriors had a great offensive day.
Tommy Bonetto, a first-year pitcher, gave his opinion on how the first couple of games of the season began.
“Our season just started and that was our first game in over one year so we were definitely a little rusty on the field.” He continued, “We have the potential to be a great team, and we are on the cusp of being there, but we need a few small tweaks and improvements to get there.”
Another factor was the change in environment due to COVID-19. Spectators are not allowed in the stadium and masks are required when not on the field. First-year pitcher Bradley Heacock mentioned how this affected play.
“Fans aren’t allowed at games because of COVID, which changes the atmosphere at the field. I think everyone is still getting used to keeping the energy high the whole game without having a crowd to provide a boost.”
Bonetto also talked about how COVID-19 played a role in the opening games.
“It’s a weird wrench thrown into our season but if we are gonna get where we wanna be, we have to roll with it.”
Even with the new rules the athletes must follow due to the pandemic, there is much success to celebrate. Westmont’s focus now turns to where they can improve and how they will fight through their season.
“As the season goes on we are looking to improve all aspects of the game: hitting, pitching, mentality, energy.” Heacock continued, “We are never going to be satisfied until the National Championship is in our hands.”
The Westmont baseball team will take on Simpson University next in a doubleheader on Feb. 11 and 12th at Russ Carr Field.