Maple Leaf baseball in full swing

By Matthew Amstutz and Jair Hernandez

Last Friday, March 11, the Goshen College baseball team played Manchester College at Manchester. The game was originally scheduled to be played in Goshen but due to weather it was moved.   The Maple Leafs fell to Manchester with a score of 13 to 8.  Manchester took an early lead as the first inning ended, and led Goshen by four runs–lead that the Maple Leafs weren’t able to take back. Omar Hernandez, a senior, led the team with three hits, resulting in seven RBI’s. Hernandez also became the first Maple Leaf since 2006 with a multi-homer game.

On Saturday, the Maple Leafs hosted Illinois Tech in a double header for the season home opener. The first game saw Goshen falling behind in the top of the first, but quickly taking the lead in the second.  However, the Maple Leafs lost the lead back to the Scarlet Hawks in the third. After a strong sixth inning the Maple Leafs were once again in the lead only to see Illinois Tech take it back in the top of the seventh. The Maple Leafs were led by seniors Sean Doering, a senior, Hernandez, and Garrett Cannizzo, a junior, all with two hits each.  Hernandez and Luke Hucker, a sophomore, both drove in a pair of runs.

The second game on Saturday started off with no hits until the third inning, when Illinois Tech got the first hit of the game. The Maple Leafs scored only one run that game, and it was scored by Josh Schlabach, a freshman. The game ended with an Illinois Tech victory with a score of 9-1 resulting and a sweep for Goshen’s first home double header. The double header that was scheduled for Tuesday, March 15 against MCC rival Grace College has been postponed until Saturday, March 19 when they will host Grace College for a non-conference double header.

The Maple Leafs bounced back from those three loses with a thrilling 10-9 victory over the Holy Cross Saints in extra innings on Wednesday evening. The visiting team were first on the scoreboard with a home run in the first inning. Holy Cross scored another run in the second and went into the third inning up 2-0.  In the top of the third, the Saints hit a two-run homer to send them up 4-0.

Doering got things started for Goshen in the bottom of the third with a single.  Andy Swisher, a junior, followed this with a double which the Holy Cross outfielder lost in the sun. With runners on second and third, Cannizzo took full advantage, and smashed a triple to deep right field, resulting in two Maple Leaf runs. Goshen finished off the inning with a run scored on the third out.

The scored remain 3-4 in favor of the Saints after the fourth inning. Goshen took over both offensively and defensively at this point. In the fourth, fifth and sixth innings, Goshen allowed no runs and gave Holy Cross three quick outs. Doering hit a double to start off the bottom of the fifth, then stole third after the Saints catcher dropped the pitch. An error by Holy Cross on a line drive by Swisher led to Goshen scoring the tying run. With runners on two bases, Hernandez hit a triple, resulting in two runs and a Maple Leaf lead.

Coming into the seventh, Goshen led Holy Cross 7-5. Their strong defense held up as the Maple Leafs forced three outs with the help of a diving catch by Nick Wesman, a junior.  Goshen increased their lead to four in the bottom of the eighth, making it 9-5 going into the ninth.

Holy Cross came out swinging in the top of the ninth, scoring four runs to tie the game at 9-9. After sticking out two batters, it was Goshen’s chance to finish the game. Unfortunately ,the Saints were able to get three swift outs and the game went into extra innings.

Holy Cross failed to score during the top of the tenth, and Goshen took full advantage of that. With two outs, Taylor Jergens, a freshman, was walked and Corey Johnson, a sophomore, stepped up to the plate. Johnson hit a line drive to left field, resulting in an RBI double for the 10-9 win.

Wednesday’s victory brought the Maple Leafs’ record to 5-12. Goshen’s next game is today, Thursday, March 17, at 4 p.m. at home against Madonna University.

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