After Goshen’s baseball team won four of its first six games, the Maple Leafs hoped that winning streak would continue into Mid-Central Conference play. So far, the winning streak has not continued. But in theory, the baseball schedule can only get easier. The Leafs played the top two MCC teams this week, dropping two games to St. Francis and four to Taylor.Tuesday afternoon, the Leafs’ bats were quiet in a doubleheader at Taylor University. Goshen took an early 1-0 lead on a sacrifice fly from first baseman Jose Andrade, a first-year, but Taylor came back to lead 3-1 after an inning and 7-1 after four. In the sixth frame, Garrett Cannizzo, a senior, singled to score Zach Vanlandingham, a first-year, and cut the lead to 7-2. Goshen left five men on in their final two innings and that 7-2 score became the final.
In the second game Tuesday, Cannizzo’s double was the only Goshen extra-base hit in an 11-1 loss. Cannizzo scored in the final inning on a fielder’s choice by Caleb Green, a sophomore. Starter Josh DeGraaf took the win for Taylor (14-10, 7-1), while Moises Ramirez took the loss for Goshen (7-16, 0-8).
Tuesday’s defeats came after Taylor swept Goshen in a doubleheader on the GC campus last Saturday. The front end of that twinbill began as a pitcher’s duel, with Trojan hurler Ryan Baker squaring off against the Maple Leafs’ Spencer Oversen. Baker and Taylor led 2-0 after six innings before the visitors scored three times in the seventh inning en route to a 5-1 win. Vanlandingham led Goshen with two hits and a run scored.
Saturday’s second game was not a pitcher’s duel: the Trojans led 9-0 after three innings, chasing Maple Leaf starter Paxson Miller, a junior. A pair of relievers allowed just one run in the next three innings before Taylor capped the contest with six runs in the seventh for a 16-0 win. Second baseman Corey Johnson, a junior; right fielder Andy Swisher, a senior; and designated hitter Caleb Yoder, a junior, each had singles for the Leafs, who did not have a man reach base after the fourth inning.
Thursday afternoon, the bats were out in full force for the St. Francis Cougars, who swept a doubleheader at Goshen 16-3 and 6-0. Catcher Derek Coverstone was 4-for-5 with a home run and four RBI, center fielder David Yoder was 3-for-5 with three doubles and three RBI, and Wesley Hunsicker allowed six baserunners in as many innings for St. Francis (12-13, 8-0). Johnson was 2-for-3 for the Leafs, who led 3-2 after three innings but allowed multiple runs in every remaining inning.
The second game saw a smaller margin, but was no less of a victory for St. Francis. Right fielder Tyler Gregory was 2-for-4 with a pair of runs scored, while David Yoder and third baseman Tom Degitz were each 2-for-3 with a run: Degitz added his second home run of the season. Saint Francis hurler Jerrid Rydell was dominant, scattering five singles in a complete-game win; Zach Thompson, a first-year, started and took the loss for Goshen.
After playing the top two conference teams to open the season, Goshen will take on sixth-place Indiana Wesleyan (11-16, 3-5) in a series this weekend. The teams will play at Goshen Thursday and in Marion Saturday. After that, Goshen hosts Grace (6-12, 3-5) for a Tuesday afternoon doubleheader, traveling to Winona Lake for the return engagement Thursday, April 5. Finally, Goshen will take on Marian (7-16, 5-3), with games scheduled for Saturday, April 7 in Goshen and Tuesday, April 10 in Indianapolis. All six dates are doubleheaders: the Saturday games start at 1:00 p.m. while most Tuesday and Thursday games start at 2:00; the April 10 doubleheader will begin at 4:00.