Baseball travels south to start season

Cody Boyer

With their season opening just around the corner, the NMU club baseball team traveled to Florida last week to train with and play against several teams, winning a match against Michigan State University.

From Sunday, March 3 through Saturday, March 9, the Wildcats took part in the 2013 NCBA Spring Training Showcase in Plant City, Fla. The ’Cats competed alongside 11 other teams, playing five games of their own with a victory against Michigan State University.

Head coach Kane Beauchamp said the team’s chemistry is still evident after having last played back in the fall semester.

“Although the fields are covered in snow here, the talent of this team is obvious,” Beauchamp said. “Talent can only take a team so far and this squad works well together. It is important that all the guys work together to be successful and the players understand that.”

On Monday, March 4, the Wildcats opened their week against Ohio University, losing 9-4. Ohio University went on to win against Western Michigan University (11-6), lose versus Penn State University (6-2), win against Ball State (8-3) and shutout Michigan State University (14-0).

The ’Cats also lost to Northeastern University on Monday with a score of 5-4.

Sophomore pitcher Adam Gannon said their first games in the south debuted good-quality playing, but did not stop them from coming up short in the end.

“I think we played well against Ohio,” Gannon said. “We hit well and played against them well, but sometimes one team just ends up with the win and, this time, that was them.”

The Wildcats competed against two teams in one day once again on Wednesday, March 6 following a day off on Tuesday, March 5, losing to both Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and Bowling Green. SIUE defeated the ’Cats 14-4, while Bowling Green earned a victory with a score of 12-0.

Senior outfielder Brandon Frazho said seeing the difference of team attendance between all of the teams made an impact on the overall quality of the Wildcats on the field.

“It was funny to see each team bring 15 to 20 guys for their squad, as we only could afford to bring 10,” Frazho said. “With our limited subs, people could get play time all over and we even had to deal with a couple injuries throughout the week. People sometimes do not realize that baseball can be a tough sport, as well, which is why subs are critical.”

The team re-entered the field on Thursday, March 7 to earn a victory against Michigan State University, tallying a score of 6-2.

The Spartans appeared in five games of their own during the week, earning four losses and one win as they defeated UNC-Charlotte 6-5.

Gannon said the team regrouped from the previous losses to come out against the Spartans with great baseball.

“We refocused ourselves and our energy to come out with a great win,” Gannon said. “I credit the defense greatly for backing up the pitching and hitting during that game.”

So far in the spring season, the Wildcats have tallied an undefeated streak leading up to the week in Plant City. On Saturday, March 2, the team defeated the LSSU Lakers 7-0 in each of its two games. The winning continued against LSSU on Sunday, March 3, with another score of 7-0.

Frazho said the earlier streak and the game against Michigan State opened the teams’ eyes to what they could achieve this season.

“We played probably the best baseball we’ve ever played since becoming a club team here at Northern,” Frazho said. “I think we have a very good chance of going undefeated during the rest of the spring now, and possibly even make the NCBA playoffs. Spring Training was fun and challenging, and an experience that I do not think we will ever forget.”

The Wildcats next play the Michigan Tech Huskies on Saturday, March 23 and Sunday, March 24 in Marquette.