The Earlham College Baseball team is ready for this upcoming season, after a disappointing end to the last one.
The team finished 23-14, losing its final eight games and missing the conference playoffs after starting the season 12-0.
“It demonstrates where we could have been at the end of the season, because before our losing streak, we were 23-6,” said Steve Sakosits, Head Coach of the Earlham Baseball team. He rationalized the team’s losing streak, saying, “I think we were a little tired and tense toward the end because we were putting more pressure on ourselves. However, our collective goal as a coaching staff and team is to learn from the mistakes we made last year.”
“We experienced early success and were starting to receive votes to be one of the top twenty-five in the country,” said Sakosits about the previous season. The Quakers are hoping to implement a fast-offensive strategy, that will help them steal more bases, while maintaining a strong position on the pitching mound, and leading defense. “We will be a team that is aggressive on the bases. Over the previous 4-5 years, we have been between 1st to 6th in the country, in terms of stolen bases. On the mound, we are hoping to be a team that allows the least number of walks, we are not going to give up free bases,” Sakosits said.
Furthermore, it appears that Earlham Baseball consists of an experienced roster this season, as the team only lost four players from last year’s graduating class. Earlham is relying on the experience of the team’s returning members to guide its new freshmen athletes. However, they did express concern as one of its most prominent athletes, sophomore second-baseman Marc Gendreau, takes time off to recover from a torn oblique. “I cannot wait to get back on the field and help these guys out,” said Gendreau, “But at this moment, I am taking it upon myself to be another coach for all the young players.”
In the early pre-season polls, Earlham was placed 4th in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC). Gendreau shared his opinions on these results, articulating, “We usually ignore them, the pre-season polls really don’t mean much. We know that we have played, and we will continue to play our best, and are unworried about what everyone else is doing.”
Returning players who are considered as forces to be reckoned with, consist of Seniors Addison Robertson and Walter Talcott. Robertson who plays in the outfield, finished in the country’s top 5 in stolen bases last season whereas, Talcott, a right-handed pitcher is a pre-season All-American. Talcott will start this season with 17 career wins to his name and is only 7 wins short of breaking Earlham’s all-time record, of 23 career wins set by Howie Smith, (2014-2017). Talcott with 177 strikeouts is currently holding 4th place in Earlham’s all-time record for strikeouts. Mark Brankle, (2012-2015) currently hold
“I have a senior on offense and a senior who is a pitcher and they can help lead us on both sides of the ball. They both work very hard to set an example,” said Sakosits.
Earlham College will begin their season at home at 12:00 pm on Saturday, 23rd of February, with a double header versus Wittenberg College.
“Going into the first weekend, we do not know who will be starting where, and our goal in the non-conference segment is to try and figure out which players will be the right fit for the conference,” concludes Sakosits.