Blazer Beat #1

Nathan Tucker

April 9th might have been the most pristine day of the Lewis and Clark Trailblazer spring sports season yet. Beautiful blue skies, temps in the 70s, spring had officially sprung, just ask my allergies. On this high pollen spring afternoon, both the softball and baseball teams were in action, both in doubleheaders. The baseball team welcomed the Jefferson College Vikings, and softball welcomed the Parkland College Cobras to the cozy confines of Godfrey Ball Park.

Game one over on the softball diamond was (spoiler alert) the lone victory in the four games played April 9th, winning 6-4 over Parkland. A big four-run first inning wasn’t enough for the visiting Cobras, failing to score at any other point. LC starting pitcher Sydney Henrichs recovered and kept composure after the first, at one point retiring twelve straight Parkland batters and throwing a strikeout in for good measure. Cobra starting arm Kate Beckemeyer picked up her fifth loss of the season, which was a “death by many cuts” scenario. Beckemeyer didn’t give up an extra base hit all game, but gave up a litany of singles.

The second encounter wasn’t quite as enjoyable for the Trailblazers, falling 8-1. Parkland got a complete game out of their starter, Kirbie Mendenhall, who gave up three hits and an unearned run in the victory. Lewis and Clark’s lone run came in the first, but the offense couldn’t figure out Mendenhall’s arsenal throughout the day, striking out seven times. A Brie Poehler dinger was the only ball to leave the yard in the doubleheader, her fourth this season.

Strolling the few hundred feet over to game one of the baseball doubleheader, Lewis and Clark really couldn’t get a word in edgewise, and fell 3-0 as a result of Jefferson College’s dominant pitching, led by starter Anthony Green. Green fanned five of twenty batters faced and only allowed a single hit, a masterful performance by the Viking pitcher to improve to 2-0 on the season. Christian Stelling recorded the two-batter save in the 7th to close out the game, his third save of the campaign.

Game two at the baseball diamond wildest game of the four, a 20-9 oddball game in favor of Jefferson College. A wild, seven-run first inning for the Trailblazers assisted by three Jefferson errors was not enough, as Jefferson’s offensive explosion continued throughout the ballgame. By the time the Trailblazers scored their next run, the Vikings had already put sixteen of their own on the board. Homers for Nick Hagedorn and Alex Harbin were nice but unnecessary in the grand scheme of things, with Parkland winning so comfortably. In mop up duty after the big first inning, Jefferson pitcher Adam Parker picked up his fourth win, mostly pitching to contact, only striking out one Trailblazer batter.

Of note but not related to actual baseball happenings: the wood backstop at the baseball diamond is clearly a home to wasps now that it’s warm enough for bugs to, well, bug us. I was chased from my usual post at the backstop by multiple wasps, and I don’t handle bugs or stings from bugs well. We’ll see if this will be a continued theme at baseball games I attend.

Trailblazer softball sits at 16-10 after April 9th, and baseball at 13-10. Respectable records at this point in the season for both, but both will be out to prove they’re the real deal in the coming games. The baseball team has a .800+ OPS (on base percentage + slugging percentage), meaning they’re seeing the ball well, but inconsistencies on the mound have cost them games.

On the other hand, the softball team is 5th best in NJCAA D2 overall in opponent batting average, and 12th in earned run average, but with offensive numbers more towards league average.

Softball continues with a doubleheader in St. Louis against St. Louis Community College on April 10th, baseball at the weekend with a two-day, four game trip to Indiana to face Vincennes starting April 12.

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