By Jack Davis
After starting off the season 1-5-1, the boysâ varsity baseball team has rebounded to win seven of its last 12 games to improve its overall record to 8-10-1. However, the squad was swept by league rival Notre Dame last week, dropping its league record to 2-4.
“We have to do better in league,” catcher Andrew Shanfeld â10 said. “Playing well in tournaments is great and all and itâs good to win non-league games, but league play is what matters. Winning league games is what is going to put us in playoff position and eventually the playoffs.”
Last Friday against Notre Dame at Franklin Field, the Wolverines jumped out to an early lead as number two hitter and national pre-season All-American Austin Wilson â10 singled, stole second, stole third, and scored on a groundout. The Wolverines tacked on another run an inning later, but Notre Dame responded with three, giving them a one-run advantage. The score was 3-2 in the fifth when second baseman Justin Genter â10 was on third and tried to tag up on a deep popup. However Genter was nailed at home plate on a disputed call, and the Wolverines would never have a chance that good again, eventually losing 3-2.
Despite the loss, the Wolverines would bounce back the next day, beating Inglewood at Franklin Field 7-0. The victory marked the second shutout of the season for the Wolverines, both against Inglewood, and represented the recent improvement in pitching that has put the team back in playoff contention.
In the first seven games of the season, the Wolverines gave up 65 runs. In the 12 games since then, the pitching staff has allowed only 52 runs, averaging out to about four and a half runs per game, a five and a half run improvement.
In the teamsâ eight victories this season, the pitching staff has only allowed 25 runs.
“The pitchers have started to challenge the hitters to put the ball in play which has resulted in a bit of success,” Head Coach Matt LaCour said.
Close games have been an issue for the Wolverines, as three of their last five losses have been by one run, with another loss coming by two runs. LaCour sees defense as a reason the Wolverines have had trouble winning close games.
“Our defense late in games this year has not been a strength,” LaCour said. “We need to make the big play in the big situation.”
The Wolverines now prepare for their final six games of the season, all of which are league games.
“This is an important stretch for us,” Shanfeld said. “Weâll be ready though, Iâm confident in this team.”