Colonels baseball aims to continue improving

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Sophomore first baseman Bobby O’Keefe reaches for the ball.

J.T. Keer, Staff Writer

The Wilkes baseball team has had an up and down start to the season thus far. The Colonels have an 8-8 record with plenty of games yet to be played.

For a team that expected big things coming into the season this could be seen as somewhat of a disappointment to the players. However, with 22 games remaining in the season, the Colonels still have plenty of time to make a run and have a successful season.

One thing that could help the Colonels get back to their winning ways is finding ways to win on the road. The Colonels are just 4-8 away from home and 0-4 when visiting other team’s home field. They have been playing well at home with a record of 4-0. If the Colonels could start to bring the same smooth style of play on the road, they can turn the ship around quickly.

A piece that will help the Colonels move forward is freshman shortstop Matthew Reese. Reese has been leading the Colonels in batting all season.

“We are looking to battle for a playoff spot with a few other teams moving forward and we haven’t played our best baseball yet,” the freshman said. “Consistency will be key entering the latter part of the season. We can play with anyone when playing well and that is what we will have to do down the stretch in order to compete.”

The baseball team has struggled to put complete games thus far. They haven’t found consistent batting or pitching to lean on.

In playing specific situations, the Colonels need improvement. Bobby Schappell, a junior second baseman, is a player that can bring stability and smarts to this lineup.

“We need to start focusing better during key situations when we need hits,” the second baseman said. “Keeping a good approach and going gap to gap will help this team become more consistent at the plate. We also need work on taking the ball the other way.”

By focusing on the little things, this team can turn it around quickly.

With such a young team in the field, the team has potential to get better. One of those youngsters, sophomore pitcher and outfielder Tom Ring has brought it all season long on the mound only serenading runs in three of his seven appearances and has a 3.94 earned run average.

“With such a strong lineup and deep pitching staff, things are going to come around,” said Ring. “Luckily, we are a young team and definitely have talent. We just need to keep getting better and improve and develop ourselves as individuals.”

Even though the baseball team has not had the start they wanted, there have still been some bright spots.

Reese leads the team in hitting as a freshman with an average of .396 and has 21 hits with 15 runs. Power hitter Stephen Ruch has continued to pound the ball with his 14 runs batted in 16 games. The crafty freshman Chris Nixon has been a pleasant surprise for the Colonels and has a 1.47 earned run average in 18.1 innings pitched.