By Ryan Gilroy ’19, Staff writer
LVC’s baseball team won two out of three games against Messiah College over the weekend, improving its record to 11-10 overall.
Friday’s game was one for the books, as the Dutchmen broke a seven-game losing streak and rallied back from a 3-0 deficit late in the game. While catcher Mitch Rickabaugh walked to bring in a run during the seventh inning, the eighth inning proved to shift the game in the Dutchmen’s favor. Second baseman Joey Wrabel hit an RBI single and then left fielder Ethan Hurd hit a 2 RBI double, bringing and keeping the score to 4-3.
“The comeback Friday was a real team effort all around and got us that ‘winning feeling’ again, which we needed badly,” Rickabaugh said. “We needed that positive energy and taste of winning again. That energy and drive to continue winning carried into Saturday where we were able to grab another win, taking the series.”
Saturday’s doubleheader was played at Messiah, as the Dutchmen split both games. LVC was victorious in the first game, 9-6, with six of its nine runs coming in the second inning. Shortstop Chris DeClerico and designated hitter TJ Holdredge each hit a home run, while center fielder Josh Herring had 3 RBIs.
“The mindset going into our games against Messiah was to win the series by simply playing baseball the way we began the season,” Rickabaugh said. “We knew it would be a tough series against a team hungry for wins, but we know what we are capable of if we play at our best.”
The second game in the doubleheader did not go as the team hoped, as the Dutchmen fell 14-5. While the scoreboard was not in the team’s favor, the team won the three-game series against Messiah, improving its MAC record to 4-5.
Breaking the seven-game losing streak was something the team needed to do, and came through after its loss against Muhlenberg College last Wednesday, with a score of 10-2. The team went back to the basics of playing the game, reminding itself of its worth.
“Prior to the game Friday, we had clean, focused practice Thursday that allowed us to work on certain areas of the game we needed work on,” Rickabaugh said. “Coach Fester instilled in us that we were still in a good spot and that he has confidence in every one of us and that if we play at our best, there’s not a team in our conference that can beat us. Having that reassurance from a coach who preaches on ‘keep moving forward’ really settled us all and set our mindsets for the weekend series.”
LVC hopes to continue its winning ways throughout the season, as the team continues to play conference games for the majority of the remaining season.
“Moving forward in the season I think it’s important to just ride this wave and keep the positive energy flowing,” Rickabaugh said. “We’re glad to win the series against Messiah, but that’s over with and we’ll take each day to keep working hard and focusing on the games we have in front of us. We have a tight group of guys who love the game of baseball and regardless of what happens on the field, we always have our brothers back and we’ll always pick up one another.”
The baseball team’s next game is at Immaculata University on Tuesday, April 2 at 3:30 p.m. and can be streamed on godutchmen.com.