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.

Lady Braves softball preview

The Lady Braves dealt with adversity for practically all of last season. The program played the entire year with only nine players due to some key injuries and a few players quitting the team. The Lady Braves look forward to working hard this fall to give them the opportunity to be competitive this spring.

Head Coach Carrie Calderon is entering her 23rd season with the program, and after a disappointing 2014 campaign she is more than eager to get back to work.

“I’m really energized and excited for this spring because I love being around people that want to work hard and challenge themselves, but who also want to learn the game,” Coach Calderon said.

Coach Calderon’s main focus point for the fall season is for her team to continue to learn every day. The Lady Braves are a young team this year with twelve freshmen and only four returning sophomores.

For Coach Calderon, the fall season is an opportunity to give the first year players important experience playing at the college level.
“They’re not playing high school softball any more, they have to make the adjustment to everything being faster and more challenging.”

Freshman outfielder Caitlin DeWitte credits Coach Calderon and the sophomore players for helping her through the learning process that comes with playing college softball. Caitlin admits the fall season has been challenging at times, but Coach Calderon has taught her that nothing is going to come easy at the college level so she has to approach the game with a never give up mentality.

The sophomores on the team have also played a role in helping Caitlin prepare for this spring. According to Caitlin, the sophomore players are always there to help whenever she’s in need, which has helped her learn from her mistakes. With the spring season five months out, Caitlin looks forward to continue preparing for the spring by working hard and learning with her teammates during practice.

Sophomore outfielder Amanda Bowen, who is a team captain, embraces any opportunity she gets to help her teammates. However, she believes the entire team contributes to the learning process.

“I’ve learned so much from the freshmen players as well. It’s a learning process where we’re all able to learn from each other, and I believe that will make our team stronger,” Amanda Bowen said.

The Lady Braves competed in seven exhibition games this fall and they recently concluded their fall season with the programs second annual Alumni game. The team will now focus their attention on conditioning in preparation for the spring season. The Lady Brave’s complete roster and schedule can be found at BHC.edu

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”