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CWU baseball ready for home opener

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CWU baseball ready for home opener

Jacob Forrester winds up a pitch during a game during last season.

Jacob Forrester winds up a pitch during a game during last season.

Jack Lambert

Jacob Forrester winds up a pitch during a game during last season.

Jack Lambert

Jack Lambert

Jacob Forrester winds up a pitch during a game during last season.

Clayton Huber, Staff Reporter

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CWU Baseball will play their first regular season games at home against Concordia University March 10 and 11 after returning from Nampa, Idaho. They opened the regular season against Northwest Nazarene University (NNU) March 3 and 5, coming away with a 4-0 record.  

The Wildcats started their preseason Feb. 2 and finished on Feb. 17 with a 5-5 record. CWU’s regular season began on March 3 against NNU after a two week break.

Senior pitcher Mackenzie Gaul believes that even though the team won half of their preseason games, there is still plenty to be done.

“We all know we can do better than that. Much like every other team in the country, there’s always room to improve everywhere,” Gaul said.

Preseason games do not have much significance because they are non-conference games and do not count towards playoff contention.

Although CWU has begun regular season play, they have yet to play in Ellensburg. Many players are ready to be back on the home field.

“We are all excited to play at our home field. A lot of our family members get to visit and watch us play,” Gaul said.

Gaul is currently 2-2 as a pitcher this year, and has a 3.38 earned run average. Last season, he was named GNAC Pitcher of the Year and is looking to improve in this year’s regular season. Gaul started Feb. 5 against NNU and pitched five innings, striking out six batters and allowing just one run.

“We can pitch better, including myself,” Gaul said. “We can hit better and field better. When we are able to do all of those things, we’re going to be a dangerous team.”

During the preseason, many underclassmen and new players found themselves getting more play time than they normally would. A normal lineup includes nine players, but the Wildcats have given 17 different players a chance to make a statement at the plate.

“The preseason is all about figuring out who can step up, who is going to fight their way into the lineup and who is going to do whatever they can to help out the team,” head coach Desi Storey said. “There is a role for everyone on this team and we need everyone to contribute if we want to win a lot of ball games.”

Senior outfielder James Smith III is already off to a strong start, hitting .366 with six doubles and one triple. Smith started every game last year, hitting .286 and only had nine doubles all year.

“It feels good to get off to a hot start,” Smith said. “I am seeing the ball really well and have a lot of confidence at the plate right now. I’m really excited to get this season underway and hopefully stay hot.”

Smith is among the 12 seniors that will be leaving the team after this year. He hopes to leave the Wildcats in a good place during his final year.

“I have had a blast playing at CWU and just want to go out strong. I believe we have a team that can win it all and I will do whatever I can to help out the team,” Smith said.

The Wildcats will play their first home games March 10 and 11 against Concordia University.

 

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