Isabel Pheifer— Staff Writer
This past weekend, the Defenders set out to defend their home field against one of their biggest foes: the Northwestern Red Raiders. Over the course of two days, these two rivals were slated to play four total games. For each one of them, the stands filled with a mixed palette of reds and yellows.
The first game fell in the favor of the Defenders. They were able to capitalize on a few Northwestern errors in the fourth inning, scoring four runs. John Emerson, sophomore outfielder and first baseman reached on an error, followed by a single from junior infielder Logan Cline. Another error by the Red Raiders allowed one run to come in, followed by an out-of-control pitch to score another. Finally, senior infielder Aaaron Eshelman singled to bring a couple more runs in. On the mound, Dordt junior Gyeongju Kim was able to hold down the fort, striking out ten and walking only one. The four-run fourth inning by the Defenders proved to be too much for the Raiders to come back from, as Dordt picked up the 4-1 win.
The Defenders did not have as much success in the second game. They managed six hits but they were not able to score. The Red Raiders totaled seven hits, which they were able to capitalize on with one run in the fourth, one in the seventh, and two more in the ninth. The Defenders were handed a 0-4 loss.
Hoping to repeat the outcome of the first game on Friday, the Defenders went into Saturday with confidence. They got on top early, with a single by senior infielder Austin Pullar, followed by a single by Emerson and a walk by Cline. Chase Edwards, senior first basemen, then singled to score Pullar. The game was close all the way until the top of the ninth, when Mason Porepp of Northwestern hit a three-run homerun. Dordt senior Logan Horne pitched the first six innings, and struck out six but allowed four hits and two runs. Nick Yeager, a sophomore, pitched the remainder of the game, giving up three runs off the Porepp homerun. Dordt was not able to overcome the deficit the homerun prompted, handing Northwestern another win.
The last game of the weekend saw a competition with Northwestern finishing on top once again. The Red Raiders were on top from the very beginning, scoring two runs in the first inning. Dordt battled back, landing a run of their own in the first after a Pullar double, who then advanced to third off an Emerson bunt, and scored on a Cline single. In the second, Northwestern got two more runs after two hits and a wild pitch from freshman Michael Bruell. The next runs for both teams came in the fourth inning, where Northwestern scored two more and Dordt scored one. The sixth and seventh innings saw both the Defenders and the Red Raiders score, but the Red Raiders were able to come out on top. Northwestern walked away with an 8-5 decision.
There is still hope for the rest of the season, according to the team, despite their losing streak.
“We have had a lot of close games this year that came down to one or two plays, and this weekend was no different,” Cline said. “A few bounces just didn’t go our way, and that’s just how baseball goes. I think we are close to turning a corner, and we just need to build off and learn from this weekend for the rest of this year’s season.”
The Defenders will get on the road and head to Sioux City to face Briar Cliff in double-header action on April 16.