As the MLB Postseason gets started, the Case Western Reserve University Spartans’ baseball team played their annual fall doubleheader against John Carroll University. Every fall the baseball team is allotted one official game day by the NCAA, and this is how they spend it.
On a beautiful Sunday afternoon for baseball, the Spartans were able to sweep the doubleheader, winning 6-4 and 12-2. Being the Spartans’ only real game action of the fall against another institution, this is always a big day for the boys to feel good about how their hard work this fall has allowed them to improve. Each pitcher was given the chance to throw either an inning or two, and, following tradition, the first starting lineup was a more experienced group, while the second showcased many of the younger players.
Coach Matt Englander was happy with the approach of the team, saying, “We came out with the energy we are interested in having … Winning was important to them.”
Furthermore two captains of the team were happy with what they saw out on the field. Third-year student Jake Shields said, “I felt like we came out collectively focused and ready to play and it showed at the plate and on the mound.”
Graduate student Eddie Abramson added, “It was great being able to go out there and succeed in our first games. We got a chance to show how hard we’ve worked all fall.”
Two victories in a fall doubleheader for a spring sport may not seem like much, but they give the team the realization that they can be a good ball club if they put in the work all winter. One of the most memorable moments of the day came in the eighth inning of game one, when first-year student Mike Najmowicz was able to put a high fastball out over the left field fence for a two run home run. After making outs in his first three at bats, Najmowicz was able to gain some confidence from that swing. He said, “I was really nervous in the first few innings and I slowly got more comfortable as the game went on. That hit gave me a little more comfort on the field.”
For first-year students like Najmowicz, it was a big day to show they belonged, and they surely delivered. The game two lineup was dominated by first-year students, and as can be seen by the scoreline, they definitely belong. At the end of the day, fourth-year student Zachary Tobias summed it all up well: “It was encouraging to see everyone … fight through the adversity as a team. Coach preaches toughness, and that is exactly what this team is: tough. This is just the start of what will be an exciting year of Spartans baseball.”
Shields ended his comments with a similar sentiment, saying, “I am very hopeful for the spring and can’t wait to get to work this offseason.”
With the promise the squad showed this past weekend, they definitely have motivation to be the best ball club they can be coming out of the winter. Englander stressed that by no means are the players ready to play in the spring yet, as everyone will be better than they are right now. However he said, “Where we are right now, if we do the right things, we can be ready to play and win in the spring.”