Seniors lead by example in Arizona

by Erin Guzman

Storm baseball came out swinging from the Russ Matt Greater Phoenix Invitational in Arizona with some early season experience and confidence.

In Arizona the Storm faced quality Division III teams, which gave them an early season estimate of their capabilities. Coming away with a 4-5 overall tournament record, the Storm faced many of their opponents twice, and saw some bright moments, but also areas for improvement.

Senior first baseman Bobby Bieniek saw these games as being a stepping-stone for the rest of the season.

“We were pretty confident going down to Arizona this year, as we have a very talented team,” Bieniek said. “However, I think we could have done better. It seemed that one reason we lost some games was that we didn’t have a lot of timely hitting… but we have so much potential for the rest of our season.”

Senior catcher Drew Yarkosky agrees that the Storm have a talented team.

“I thought that we played descent, but we played nowhere near our potential,” Yarkosky said. “We have a highly talented and accomplished team and we’re going to be tough at the end of the year.”

The Storm came away with wins against Concordia (Ill.) (6-1), Marian (Wis.) (11-7, 12-5), and Wis.-Stout (3-0).

In the game against Concordia, senior Paul Brown’s pitching performance denied runs for four innings solidifying a win in game two. Runs from senior Grant Thomas and junior Ty Larson allowed Simpson to sweep a 6-1 victory from Concordia.

Picking up two victories over Marian, Yarkosky totaled five runs between the two games, contributing to the overall team effort wins. Sophomore Tyler Crandell and junior Colton Calvert contributed two runs a piece in game one, and a 1-0 career pitching start from senior Mark Butler. In game two, eight out of the nine starters for the Storm earned runs, and the team’s depth allowed for an even rotation of pitchers throughout the game.

The Storm shut out the Blue Devils of Wis.-Stout in game one (3-0) but could not repeat in game two. Senior pitcher Mike Huyser held off the opposition to five hits and no runs, with Yarkosky and senior Brad Agan scoring the Storm’s three runs. In game two the Blue Devils took the victory, 4-2.

Overall the tournament gave the Storm the experience necessary for improving their game play for later in the season.

“Our stats and record might not have been what we wanted but the results have shown us we need to work harder,” Bieniek said. “I think we have plenty of guys willing to step up, and those top nine guys will emerge throughout the season and interchange as need be. I’m not worried. I think we have something to prove now and will be hungrier for success.”