William Jewell College (WJC) baseball team came out of this last weekend in Texas holding an overall record, 4-1.
WJC Baseball so far this season has a team batting average of .309. Some of the men responsible for keeping the bats going are Matej Sucha, junior outfielder, with a batting average of .545; Hunter Brown, senior outfielder, with a .368 avg; and Jared Patton, senior catcher, posting a .353 avg.
“When you have a group of guys around you, whether we are talking about the pitching staff or the position players, it makes it easier to relax and play the game to the best of your ability. I am looking forward to finishing my college career with this team,” Patton said.
On the defensive side, WJC’s pitchers have been able to keep opponents to a .258 avg. Leading the pack is Austin Kretchmar, junior and pitcher. With the help of good hitting and defensive, along with the ability to keep opponent hitters guessing, Kretchmar has an 1.93 ERA, with a record of 2-0 thus far and eight strikeouts through 14 innings pitched. Chris Mancha, junior pitcher, and Billy Kirkpatrick, junior pitcher, round out the pitching staff with 1-0 records each.
Coming Out Big in Texas
The WJC Baseball team went 2-0 on Feb. 26 versus Arlington Baptist. The teams Feb. 27 games were cancelled due to weather. The men won game one with a score of 8 to 1, and then proceeded to win game two with a score of 5-2.
Jewell Beats Arlington in first meeting, 8-1
Jewell had 10 hits with zero errors to Arlington’s three hits and two errors, ending 8-0. Kretchmar got the start and pitched a complete game, his first of the year, improving his record to 2 to 0.
“Overall we played very well. We hit the ball very well, and were fundamentally sound on defense. We put up three runs early on, which made my job a lot easier. All I had to do was try and get back into the dugout as fast as possible so we could hit again. I just pounded the strike zone and let the defense make routine plays,” Kretchmar said.
Kretchmar pitched seven innings, allowed three hits along with only one run and struck out five batters.
His pitching effort was backed up by superior bats and clean defense that kept Arlington in check. Bryan Porting, senior infielder, had five at-bats with four hits and scored twice to help WJC clinch the win.
“We had a very successful weekend in Texas. The offense provided a bunch of support to back up a great day on the mound from our pitching staff. Our pitching staff as a whole did a great job of setting the tone, and controlled the games for us in a huge way. This performance backed with solid defense and timely hitting is what made us successful down there,” Porting said.
WJC put up three runs early in the first inning and kept adding onto that lead with good hitting, pitching and defense.
Jewell Wins Game Two 5-2
The Cardinals finished out their series with a 5-2 win over Arlington Baptist at Quik Trip Field in Arlington, Tex. The contest was a stalemate until the fourth inning when Hunter Brown had an RBI triple, bringing Jared Patton around to home to break the tie. Matej Sucha would then single, scoring Brown, to increase the lead two to zero. WJC had 11 hits and one error compared to five hits and three errors produced by Arlington Baptist. Billy Kirkpatrick got the start and the win, pitching 6.2 innings, giving up five hits along with a one run before being relieved by Dylan Pollock and Bryan Rezin. Matej Sucha had four at-bats, producing three hits and a walk, along with a pair of RBI’s and two scores. Hunter Brown had two triples and scored twice, while Sam Morman had a two RBI effort in the win.
“This team has some real talent this year and I am excited to see what is in store for us. We have good starting pitching, solid defense behind the pitchers and an explosive offense which are all keys for a good baseball team,” Brown said.
So what can we expect from WJC baseball this season?
“You can expect us to make some noise this year. Being 4-1 is fun and all, but we have not accomplished anything yet. All we can do is take it one game at a time and compete every pitch. We have a very talented group of guys, so it will be fun to see how this year pans out,” Patton said.
They host the University of Sioux Falls Saturday, Mar. 7 at noon and 3 p.m. for a double header and then at 1 p.m. Sunday, Mar. 8 to finish up the three game series. The Cardinals baseball team starts Great Lakes Valley Conference play Mar. 14 against Saint Joseph’s College.