Choctaws Ready for Conference Play After Weekend Sweep/by Jace Aymond
The Choctaw baseball team picked up three wins Feb. 27-28 in their non-conference series against the Golden Bears of Miles College. After starting their season dropping six straight games, the team picked up some much needed wins this past weekend as they won by scores of 12-2 and 8-0 in the doubleheader on Saturday and 8-2 on the lone game Sunday.
The big story of the weekend was that six different Choctaws combined to hit a total of eight home runs in the three games. Dylan Duplechain and Caleb Reese each went yard twice in the series while George Farid, Markarius “Woogie” Lee, Ken Scott, and Alex Hay all added a home run as well.
Not only were the bats hot all weekend, but the pitchers performed incredibly well too. In game one, Payton Russell picked up the win in his first start of the season as he only gave up four hits and one earned run in his complete, seven inning game due to the run-rule. In the second game, Bryce Lewis picked up the victory as he completed the complete game shutout giving up only two hits in all seven innings of work. In the final game, Jackson Bridges picked up his first win of the season as he allowed three hits and only one earned run in six innings of work. The bullpen was only used in game three as Sam Ciaccio, Jackson Smith, and Dylan Marsh pitched for an inning apiece without allowing a hit or run.
Coach Jeremy Haworth praised his team’s pitching performance, saying they “worked hard, kept it simple and fill[ed] up the strike zone. If you can get ahead, you can dictate the batter and you’re in control. When you don’t do that, then you’re liable to get hurt. Once we figure out how we can control the situation, we’re going to be just fine.”
The series was also a good confidence booster for the Choctaws as they head back into the ever-challenging conference games. In past seasons, the Choctaws opened up their season playing a few non-conference series to prepare themselves for their conference schedule. However, due to COVID, the Choctaws had to jump straight into conference play without any scrimmages or non-conference games whatsoever. This also was the Choctaws’ first games at home of the season. Senior Dylan Duplechain spoke on how much this series meant to the team, saying, “It means a lot. This helps us boost our confidence and gets us where we need to be with a right mind and a right focus.”
Haworth also was grateful for the series, saying, “This was a confidence booster for sure but our guys are getting better every single day. I like our mentality going into this weekend, and we have a lot of work to do. I think it was nice to play here at home and I think it had a lot to do with the series sweep here. We’re a good [base]ball team. We just have to play like it more consistently.”
The Choctaws’ next series will be in Pensacola as they take on West Florida with a single game on March 5 followed by a doubleheader the next day beginning at 1:00 p.m. After getting the sweep over Miles, the team now sits at 3-6 on the year as they hope to earn their first conference win of the season against the Argonauts. The following weekend will be the Choctaws’ first home conference series as Alabama-Huntsville will travel to Frierson Field. After a much needed sweep over Miles College, the Choctaws now head into a crucial conference series against the Argonauts of West Florida.