Baseball emerges hopeful after disappointing season
Early in the semester, Whitman’s baseball team had high hopes of improving upon last year’s record of 4-20, with many players returning. Those hopes were dashed, however, as the team finished 5-19 in the Northwest Conference with an overall record of 5-34.
The men finished just above Lewis & Clark College (4-20); Whitworth and Pacific University shared the NWC title, both with records of 19-5 in conference.
Despite their final standing, the team moves forward with hopes of a better upcoming season.
While many players expressed disappointment with the season’s results, they also recognized that the team has made significant improvements.
“I would be lying if I didn’t say I am disappointed. I believe most of the team would agree with me on this; however I would also be lying if I said that we didn’t improve,” said sophomore pitcher Dakota Matherly.
“It is tough to go through three seasons and acquire only five wins in each . . . it also makes it seem as if the program is at a standstill, but that’s truly not the case. If you were to go and look at the stats for the past three years, you would see a large degree of improvement, it just hasn’t yet shown itself in regards to wins. However, we are now competing in almost every game we play in and in no way are we an easy win for any team that we play,” said Matherly.
The team has only one senior this year; most of the players are sophomores and first-years, many of whom helped the team make strides this year.
“Our full roster is probably one of the, if not the youngest Division III team in the nation. Our freshmen and sophomores play the bulk of the innings. We are to the extreme very young,” said coach Jared Holowaty, who is currently in his third year as coach.
With more returning players than last year, the team had high hopes of improving their record, yet the team became downtrodden with mounting losses through the season.
“The season started with high expectations, but as it progressed, we became less and less engrossed in the season because of our poor play. We are hoping that for next year we can show some significant improvement,” said sophomore pitcher and utility player Aaron Cohen.
Despite the setbacks that the team faced this season, Holowaty has nothing but respect for his players.
“The toughest thing for me is you want to see these young men succeed–they work so hard, and I really wanted them to win because of their effort. I can’t say enough about their hard work to play every day each inning each out at 100 percent. I have nothing but admiration for these guys,” said Holowaty.
The team looks to build off of the past seasons experience and apply it towards next year, as this year a majority of players will be returning.
“We are only graduating one senior and are returning our entire starting lineup and all our starting pitchers. The difference between this recruiting class and the last two is that we have the bulk of our team and instead of just trying to get large numbers of players we are now focusing on getting players to fill spots of the team,” said Cohen.
Many players will be involved with summer leagues, striving to improve their abilities over the summer. Some will participate in collegiate leagues; others will be playing in leagues across country, ranging from Pennsylvania to Hawaii.
“These outside competitive summer leagues help add experience not only from more playing time against stiff competition but also the knowledge that is gained from those coaches as well. By the start of next season . . . the only thing that should be of concern for our team will be the season at hand,” said Matherly.
Despite the setbacks that the team has suffered over the past few seasons, the team remains optimistic about the future.
“I look forward to seeing a renewed dedication to winning next year, and I hope that we can bring the name of Whitman Baseball back to respectability,” said Cohen. +
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