Isabel Pheifer—Staff Writer
The Dordt University baseball team kicked off their season on Thursday, February 4 with a road trip to Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas. It was not ideal baseball weather, with low temperatures and snow covering the field. After a season cut short last year due to COVID-19, however, the baseball team was extra eager to play again, no matter the weather.
“After not playing baseball for almost a year, we were all excited to get back on the field,” Willem Hoekstra, a junior, said. “Even though there was an inch of snow on the field, and it felt like twelve degrees, we weren’t going to let that stop us from playing.”
The Defenders played four games and faced multiple opponents over the course of two days. In their first they faced off against Bethany College (Kansas). Bethany took control of the game in the second inning, scoring five runs, but Dordt chalked up three of their own in the bottom of the same inning. Bethany then earned one run in the third and four in the sixth, raising the deficit too high for Dordt to make a run at. The game ended with Bethany on top 10-4.
Immediately after the Defenders were handed the loss, they had to turn around and face the same team again. This time around, it was Dordt who took an early lead. They scored in the first inning with a single from junior left-fielder Nick Hamilton that brought in first basemen Chase Edwards. However, Bethany mounted a five-run fourth inning and went up 7-2. Dordt was able to bring in senior pinch runner Austin Pullar on a single from junior shortstop Logan Cline but it was not enough to secure the win. The final score tallied 7-3, with Bethany walking away with another victory.
On Friday, the Defenders were slated to go up against the home team, Benedictine College (Kansas). This one got away from the Defenders early, as the Ravens scored five runs in the first inning. Dordt responded with a run by senior right-fielder Aaron Eshelman in the third inning and one by sophomore center-fielder John Emerson in the fourth. Despite the runs, it was too little too late for the Defenders as the Ravens went up 13-2 after the fifth inning. Benedictine closed the game with a commanding 14-3 win.
Dordt used their previous losses as motivation to perform better as they faced Benedictine again. This proved to be true, as Dordt pitchers Isaac Vander Hart and Nick Yeager held Benedictine to only three hits the whole game. The Ravens were able to score a run in the first inning, bringing the score 1-0 for the next few innings. Dordt finally scored in the fourth as a wild pitch allowed Pullar to sneak in for a run—his second of the weekend. Although the Defenders put forth a valiant effort, a homerun in the bottom of the seventh ended the game 2-1 in favor of the Ravens.
Although the first games of the season may not have gone in favor of the Defenders, junior Logan Horne has hope about the upcoming season.
“We got to face some high-quality teams this weekend, and while we weren’t at our best, I believe we were able to form a solid foundation to work off of in the coming weeks,” Horne said. “I feel like we were strong in our efforts at the plate and on the mound, but we just need to work on consistency.”
The Dordt University baseball team is set to travel back to Kansas and face Central Christian College on February 19 and McPherson College on February 20.