Caleb Pollema—Staff Write
For the Dordt baseball team, getting to play on a somewhat warm day is a rare occurrence, especially in Sioux Center where winter has continued to drag on.
This simple fact is why there is so much anticipation for the annual trip to the Tucson Invitational Games in Tucson, Ariz. Over spring break, the team gets to not only absorb lots of sunshine, but also open the baseball season.
The Defenders played in eight games in Tucson and finished with a 3-5 record, which came after only two games outside and no outdoor practices.
“As a team, I think we showed spurts of what we are capable of, but we need to put it all together,” said senior first baseman Zach Fowler. “Despite our record, we saw what some guys are capable of and I think we competed well.”
Beyond just playing baseball, the week-long trip is an opportunity for the team to hang out and get to know each other outside of the sport.
The team went to church together, attended an MLB spring training game and played mini-golf together.
“I can tell that throughout our trip we were getting closer, which benefited our performance on the field,” said senior shortstop and team captain Trent Roose.
With the Arizona trip in the books, the Defenders turn to their conference schedule which continues this week with two games at Northwestern on Tuesday and two games at Dakota Wesleyan on Friday.
The Defenders are set to have their home opener this Saturday against Dakota Wesleyan in a doubleheader at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.
The team is excited for the opportunity to repeat last year’s conference performance and return to the conference tournament.
“I’m looking forward to seeing who is going to step up each game and take over,” said senior pitcher Brandon Fokkema. “We have a lot of players capable of doing just that and I’m excited to see who will step up to be the hero each game.”
The Defenders are excited for what lies ahead and they are ready to show how good they can really be.
“As a senior I want teams to start respecting Dordt College as a legitimate competitor in the GPAC,” Fowler said. “We have been on the rise and I hope other programs recognize that. I want teams to get nervous when they play us.”
The goal for the season is clear, especially for all the seniors, to be respected in the GPAC and get back to the conference tournament.