Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Baseball team thrives in spite of storm

Senior Chris Sauer pitches during the Augustana Men’s Baseball game against Aurora. Photo by LuAnna Gerdemann.

March 15’s harsh storm destroyed more than trees and power lines. It caused Augustana’s Brunner Field to suffer heavy damage to the point where the baseball team had to move to another temporary baseball field.
Senior Jeff Prior explained how much damage was done to the field.
“It was pretty severe,” Prior said. “Our batting cages were completely taken down, about 90 feet of fence was pretty much destroyed and another 20 feet of fence was mangled. That had to be taken down as well.”
Luckily for the baseball team, the damage is covered by Augustana’s insurance and, according to Augustana Athletic Director Mike Zapolski, is currently being repaired.
“The storm damaged a portion of the outfield fence and the batting cages but work is underway to make repairs,” Zapolski said.
In the meantime, the Vikings were able to move their most recent game against Aurora to Modern Woodmen Park.
Although they noted that it was a new location for them, Prior said there weren’t any major differences between playing at their home field and Modern Woodmen Park.
“It was a little bit different from a facility standpoint,” Prior said. “It was a cool opportunity to go out there and play on a minor league field, but other than that, it wasn’t much different than at our home field. It’ll be nice when we can get back and play on our home stadium.”
Some aspects from the change of scenery did prove to be troublesome. According to fellow baseball captain and senior John Swiderski, the damage done to the field has restricted what the team can practice.
Swiderski said that they were able to overcome the restrictions
“We’ve been able to adapt easily and work on different parts of practices,” Swiderski said.
While the team was able to adapt to the restrictions, the loss of the batting cages has hurt the team’s ability to practice.
“The (loss of the) batting cages makes it hard for us to do drill work because we don’t have another area to do that right now,” Prior said.
Overall, the Augustana baseball team was able to deal with the unexpected storm and the damage left in its wake. According to Prior, some concern was how long it would take for the baseball field to be useable for the team again.
“Initially we were concerned with the amount of time it would take to repair the fence, but they’ve done a pretty good job at being efficient about getting it fixed soon,” Prior said.
Swiderski agreed, saying that if the “repairs are finished by Saturday, our next game will be at home.”
The last home game for the Vikings was their game against conference rival North Central College who the Vikings went 2-1 against in their three games on Saturday and Sunday. The Vikings won on Saturday 10-8 and lost their first game on Sunday 10-16 but won their second game 6-5.
The next home game for the Vikings will be against Wheaton College on April 8.

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Baseball team thrives in spite of storm