Spring ball finds success during Easter weekend

It was a busy weekend for Goshen College sports as Crossroads League opponents University of Saint Francis, Huntington University, and Spring Arbor University came to town for a pair of four-game series against the Leafs’ softball and baseball teams. 

On the softball side, GC lost their first series 2-0 to Huntington but picked up their one win of the weekend in dramatic fashion in Saturday’s first contest against Saint Francis with a walk-off single. 

The Leafs struggled to develop a consistent offense in Friday’s series against Huntington, losing game one 7-1, and being shut out 10-0 through five innings in game two. 

The Maple Leaf offense found a spark in game one on Saturday, jumping out to a 2-0 lead over St. Francis through two innings, before making it 3-1 in the fourth with a Regan Sheipline squeeze-play. 

Huntington battled back with one run in the third and a pair of scores in the seventh to tie the ball-game 3-3 going into the bottom of the seventh inning. 

With one last chance to grab a crucial conference win without going to extra innings, senior Cassandra Espinoza hit a two-out double and was batted home for the winning run by freshman Ashley Glazer, who picked up her 13th RBI of the season. 

Our team fights,” said head coach Juliclare Plezbert. “We are young, but we are stepping up in bigger moments and I know whatever the score may be, that we always have a chance to win. Whatever happens the day before doesn’t faze our squad. 

The Leafs did not fare as well in game two against St. Francis, falling by double-digits 12-2.

The team, however, is looking forward to a tough stretch of six upcoming road contests against the Bethel College Pilots, Marian University Knights and Indiana Wesleyan University Wildcats. 

Despite not playing a home contest for nearly two weeks, Plezbert remains confident that her team will perform well on the road, and they simply have to trust their practice process. 

The Leafs’ double-header at Bethel is a crucial one as the Leafs look to add to their point total in the battle for the US Highway 20 Cup, which the Leafs are currently losing 6.25-3.75.

For the GC baseball squad, Easter weekend was a big one. The Leafs notched their first conference wins, as well as their third overall victory of the season, in a four-game series with the Spring Arbor University Cougars. 

Spring Arbor got off to a hot start in game one with a 4-1 win, but the Maple Leafs staved off a furious Cougar comeback in game two to pick up a 7-6 win. Momentum from this contest carried over into an offensive explosion in game three that ended in a Maple Leaf win, 15-12. 

With the three score win came the Leafs’ highest scoring total of the season at 15 runs. 

I feel like that game was mainly chain reactions,” said senior Baylee Young. “We kept our positive energy, and this led to multiple hits in a row. Getting a hit in a big situation can start something great, and I would say that happened multiple times in game three.”

While the Leafs were shut out in their final contest of the weekend 5-0, the confidence level among players remains high following their first conference victory of the season. 

The conference series split was a major confidence boost and [were] much needed wins,” said senior Kyle Staelgrave. “You can tell we are getting better every time we play and those wins were a must in order to still have a chance at making the conference tournament.”

With 18 regular season and 16 conference games remaining before the Crossroads League tournament begins, each contest will be crucial for the Leafs as they look to carry momentum into the final stretch of the season.

GC baseball kicks off a tough 12-game away schedule with a four-game series starting Apr. 9 at Huntington University. 

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Written by Dante Stanton, Sports Editor

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