P-P baseball off to mixed start in effort to improve on disappointing 2019 season

A man lunges with his arm thrown back preparing to throw the ball.
Ryan Long PO ’21 pitched 6 innings for the Sagehens in their 10-4 loss to Occidental April 6, 2019. (Amy Best • The Student Life)

Unimpressed with last year’s finish, the Sagehens are fired up for another SCIAC season. Last year they finished eighth out of nine teams, but were picked to finish sixth this year in the SCIAC preseason poll.

“We finished way below where we wanted to in the standings last year, so we are playing with a chip on our shoulder coming into this season,” Connor Woods PO ’20 said via email.

The Sagehens opened up their season with two wins (Whitworth 5-3 and Willamette 6-5) and two losses (Whitworth 3-1, 12-1). 

Following the 2-2 start, the team now has lofty goals — securing a SCIAC title and a subsequent bid for the NCAA DIII College World Series.

“We hope to be the team celebrating on the field with a SCIAC championship, headed to the NCAA Tournament,” Woods said.

If the Sagehens are to be successful in the SCIAC, the team will need to rely on their depth.

According to Woods, the squad’s 11 incoming first-years are “great additions to the team.”

“They work hard, love baseball and most importantly, they’re good people,” Woods added.

As for returning talent, Woods pointed to a few key returners for the Hens.

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“Jeremy Jess [PZ ’20] and Nolan McCafferty [PO ’20] are both four-year starters that will help lead our team in the field. On the mound, Ryan Long [PO ’21] and Tyler Yoshihara [PO ’20] are two talented starters, and Trevor ‘Lil Tex’ Walker [PZ ’20] locks it down out of the bullpen.”

Off the field, Woods said he believes the team’s philosophy will help bring the Sagehens success this year. 

“[We have] a lot of hardworking people who are the perfect amount of weird,” he said. “We’re a very close-knit group, making it a great team to be a part of.”

Woods favorite team tradition is what he refers to as the “Halloween Game.”

“The Friday of Halloween weekend, we all dress up in costume and play Pomona vs. Pitzer, before having team dinner that night. It’s a little ridiculous, but it’s a great time,” he added. 

The Sagehens’ first SCIAC competition will come against Caltech this weekend — one game at home Feb. 21, before a doubleheader in Pasadena Feb. 22.

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