Update from the Diamond

Tanner Rowe

Baseball

The Black Hawk men’s baseball team is off to a hot start this season, having won nine of their first eleven contests. They will face McHenry County College for a double header this Sunday, while riding a five-game winning streak.

The Braves had the chance to showcase their talent out east, as they started their season by making a trip to Myrtle Beach South Carolina, where they took four out of six games.

Coach Chavera’s team has had the perfect balance of offense and pitching so far on the early season. Offensively the Braves are averaging just a bit more than seven runs per game. Guys like sophomore Anthony Smith, and freshman Pedro Alfonseca both have their averages sitting at over .400 from the dish to start the year.

Sophomore infielder Gama Martinez, has also been productive with the bat, leading the team with 12-RBI and 2 homeruns. The teams on base percentage is a whopping .435, while the team batting average is not much worse at .307.

The pitching staff is carrying their weight as well, combining for a team ERA of just 1.75 to this point. The ace of the staff so far has been Zach Erdman, a sophomore righty from St. Laurence, Illinois. Erdman has allowed just 2 earned runs during 17 innings of work. He has also thrown two complete games, as his record sits at 3-0.

Freshman flamethrower Devin Wessels has struck out 18 batters in just 11 innings of work. Wessels was one of the hardest throwing high school pitchers in the state of Illinois last season for United Township High School.

The Braves were scheduled to host Oakton Community College for two games on March 26th, but that meeting was canceled. A makeup date has yet to be determined.

Softball

The softball team is not off to quite the same start as the Black Hawk baseball team, as they have struggled out of the gate winning just one of their first eight games.

The lady Braves were not able to salvage a victory until their seventh game of the season, which was the first game of double header in which they split with Augustana College.

Freshmen pitcher/infielder Abby Young has been asked to do a lot of work so far, this season. While she is off to a hot start at the dish, hitting .421 so far, it has not necessarily translated to the mound. Young has allowed 37 runs in just 22 innings of work, which leaves her ERA 6.68. The pitching staff seems to be shorthanded, as the only other person to pitch has been Caylla Townsley, and she too has an ERA greater than 5 to start the year.

A slow start may not have been unpredictable for this group that has nine freshmen and only one sophomore listed in the stat book all season long. A learning curve is inevitable for all those freshmen as they are looking to become accustomed to playing at the next level.

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Cub’s looking to “Embrace The Target” in 2016

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Image courtesy of chicagotribune.com

“Embrace the target” is the message that Cubs second year Manager, Joe Maddon, is trying to get through to his guys after they got a big taste of success in 2015.

It was a long and grueling process for the organization and its fans, after many years of watching their beloved Cubs almost lose on purpose in order to rebuild. Some people are saying the Cubs arrived a year or two earlier than expected considering all the success of the highly touted prospects brought in by team President, Theo Epstein, and General Manager, Jed Hoyer.

For many young ball players, the jump from the minors to the pros is no easy transition, but the five rookies on last years roster made a major impact in the Cubbies run to the National League Championship series.  Continue reading “Cub’s looking to “Embrace The Target” in 2016”

Nothing Guaranteed for Braves Baseball

For the last three seasons, the Braves Baseball team has managed to come up just short of advancing to the NJCAA National Tournament, but this year’s team isn’t concerned with the past. The Braves are confident they can compete for a National title, and they understand the importance of having a successful fall season.

The fall season consist of the Braves playing in several exhibition games, including games against Western Illinois and St. Ambrose. The team currently has four games left before they finish the fall season competing in the Black and Gold World Series.

Starting right hand pitcher, Joey Fredrickson, who has reached as high as 89 mph on his fastball this fall, is confident in the team’s ability to compete for a National Title. Fredrickson admits the team needs to improve on their batting, but overall he’s been impressed with the team’s progress so far.

As a captain, Fredrickson embraces the opportunity to show the first year players the standards Coach Chavera and the program have set in place.

“As a captain, I want to make sure every incoming freshman knows the expectations of acting first class on and off the field,” Fredrickson said.

The program lost 11 sophomore players from last season, but the Braves will have eight returning sophomores and three sophomore transfers. Having 11 players with prior college baseball experience should benefit the Braves this upcoming spring, but just being a sophomore doesn’t get you in the starting line up on this team.

The fall season is all about competition for the Braves, and from day one Coach Chavera and his staff made it clear to the team that nothing is guaranteed.

“The players that are returning are pretty good, and they were starters last year for a reason, but they know in this business my job is to put the best product on the field every day,” Coach Chavera said.

Whether a player is on a full tuition scholarship or is a walk on, each player is expected to compete against one another. Coach Chavera’s goal is to create an environment where the players are competing every day to prepare them to compete against their opponents.

To establish competition on a consistent basis, the coaching staff has come up with a rather unique way for the players to embrace the competition.

Every day at practice, the Braves have some form of competition against one another. The team is split up into two groups: the Sauk Tribe and the Fox Tribe, which were two tribes led by Chief Blackhawk. The two teams can earn points by making good plays at practice or during a game, and they can also lose points for things such as showing up late to practice. The two teams can also earn points by winning competitions such as relay races and kick, pass, punt competitions. Every two weeks the points are added up and the tribe that has the least amount of points are assigned to clean up duty on the field or extra conditioning.

The coaching staff doesn’t want any player becoming complacent and content with their role on the team. They want the players to be pushed, whether it’s by the coaching staff or a teammate to ensure each player competes every day.

Every year the Braves’ goal is to bring a National Title to Black Hawk, but winning is not Coach Chavera’s number one priority. Coach Chavera believes the most important aspect of his job is helping his players develop enough to play for a four year school. The coaching staff takes pride in developing their players to be able to move on to the next level, and last year the program had seven players who were signed by Division I schools.

With the spring season still months away, it’s impossible to speculate how the season will go for the Braves, but make no mistake – this team will be competing every step of the way.

The entire fall and spring schedules, as well as a complete roster, can be found at BHC.edu.

Grinder of the month plays once more

The most successful teams in sports always seem to have a particular player who has the natural ability to lead their team regardless of the circumstances. By simply attending a Braves baseball game, one can quickly recognize just exactly who the undeniable leader of the team is.

Continue reading “Grinder of the month plays once more”

Baseball team makes ENID goal for their season

Spring time is upon us, and that can mean only one thing-it’s time for a little baseball. The Braves fell one game short of competing in the NJCAA Division II World Series last season, and this year they are focused on making another run towards winning a championship. Continue reading “Baseball team makes ENID goal for their season”

No excuses: Lady Braves prepare for upcoming season

The start of the 2015 softball season has been anything but normal for the Lady Braves. Games getting canceled due to the weather, players getting injured, and having the misfortune of a few players leaving the program have been some of the challenges that Head Coach Carrie Calderon and the Lady Braves have had to deal with so far this season. Continue reading “No excuses: Lady Braves prepare for upcoming season”