After a tough start to the season, and having to wait for the weather to cooperate, the Maple Leaf baseball team entered the win column for the first time this season in a win over Marian University on Saturday.
The Maple Leafs and the Knights played a double header that saw Marian outlast Goshen in 10 innings, by a score of 6-5 in game one. But in the second game, the Maple Leafs turned the tables and came away with a split in the double header with a 2-1 victory.
Trevor Emery and Vincent Caschera provided the necessary offense with an RBI a piece. Arick Armington and Bryan Aponte came across to score for Goshen. Emery’s single in the top of the second and Caschera’s single in the sixth both came with two outs and gave the Maple Leafs all the offense they would need.
Defensively the Maple Leafs turned to Michael Walker on the mound, and the first-year didn’t disappoint. Walker earned his first career collegiate win in an impressive six inning performance. He registered four strikeouts and walked none, while only surrendering one unearned run in the top of the seventh.
When asked how he felt about both the team and himself getting win number one, he said, “Personally, it’s really exciting. I knew that I could do it, but now that the first one is out of the way there is a little pressure off me.”
He also said, “It feels great that we were able to get that elusive first win as a team. We’d been so close so many times over spring break, but couldn’t quite pull it out. Now we have some momentum and there is no reason why we can’t continue that going into league play.”
But while Walker was impressive on the mound, he had some solid defense behind him as well. In the first inning after starting a little slow, right fielder Preston Carr got the defensive ball rolling by throwing out a runner at third.
An inning later, left fielder Emery and catcher Urbano Hernandez teamed up for a double play with one out when a pop up was hit to left. Emery made the catch and rifled the ball home to Hernandez who maintained control of the ball for the double play.
Walker was greatly appreciative of his defense. He said, “I can’t say enough about the defense. They were awesome behind me. Urbano called a great game and worked extremely hard for me behind the plate. Trevor and Preston both had great throws from the outfield to throw runners out and save runs. I was confident that everyone would make plays behind me and that helps me throw strikes.”
Walker was relieved in the seventh inning by Paxson Miller after an error and a single, which eventually led to the Knights first and only run of the game. With runners at first and third and two outs, the Knights had fought their way back into the ball game, but Miller shattered that dream by setting the final batter down on strikes, securing the Maple Leafs’ first win.
Goshen will look to ride the momentum from this win into their next few games, weather permitting of course.
Walker is optimistic on the outlook of the team.
“I think that we can definitely surprise some people this year,” he said. “We have a lot of young talent mixed with some talented upperclassmen. The upperclassmen have done a great job leading this team. I’m super excited to see how the rest of this year plays out.”