Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Baseball captures first place in the CCIW

The Augustana baseball team is off to a hot start this season with an overall record of 19-5-1 and a conference record of 8-1 as of April 14.
Over the past weekend, they took down Carthage in a doubleheader with two walk-off wins, winning 15-14 and 8-7, respectively. With these victories, the Vikings are first place in the CCIW.
Leading the offensive charge is senior centerfielder Ryan Kairis, catcher Ryan Granneman and junior outfielder Mitch Owens. Kairis leads the team with a batting average of .457 while Granneman leads the team with 24 runs batted in.
“The hot start has started because of how gritty our team is,” Granneman said. “If you go back and look at our wins, many of them were come-from-behind wins. Also, we have a lot of people contributing to each win. It seems like it’s a different person contributing to that key moment every game.”
With this much success, it’s a team effort coming from the Vikings. The pitching staff has held their end of the bargain as well with performances thus far from sophomores Sam Cregan, Jon Hayes and Josh Chamberlain.
Hayes leads the team with 13 appearances and five wins while Chamberlain has the lowest earned run average on the team (1.26), totaling 14.1 innings on the year.
Senior pitcher Connor Berek talked about how the pitchers have been doing so far.
“A major ideal we tried to push this year is to control only what you can control,” Berek said. “Trusting the guys behind us in the field and especially [Granneman] behind the plate has led to great successes so far this season, and we hope to continue that success going into the rest of the season.”
For the remainder of the season, the men have a loaded CCIW schedule. Granneman touched on what the team will have to do to keep their current success rolling against their tough conference opponents.
“To continue our success, we need to keep playing loose. When we play loose and keep grinding together, there are not many teams that can beat us,” Granneman said.
If the success continues, the men could be looking at a prosperous postseason. Berek talked about what the goals for the team are for the entire season.
“Obviously we want to be the CCIW regular season and conference tournament champions, and then go on to make a run at the national title. But, at the end of season, if we finish knowing that when the season does end, whether that’s earlier than hoped or in June hoisting a trophy over our heads, we played our best baseball that I know we are capable of and that we left it all on the field,” Berek said.
The success of the team so far this season has led to other accolades. Head coach Greg Wallace won his 700th career collegiate game this season. With all the good happening around the team, they are hoping to continue it for the remainder of the season.
The team’s next series is against Wheaton with an away doubleheader on Friday, April 19, and a single home game on Saturday, April 20.

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Baseball captures first place in the CCIW