Pacific is currently ranked 6th in the Northwest Conference standings, securing a 6-9 record in conference and a 9-18 record overall on the season. The remainder of their schedule will be a battle for the three spot.
With playoffs out of the question and eight conference games left to play the Boxers baseball team is staring down the barrel of what could be a very anti-climactic finish.
Linfield and George Fox are the only two teams that have any kind of shot to bring home the NWC title. Both are 15-3 in conference play and have 22 wins on the season.
There is an eight game gap between them and Pacific Lutheran the next closest team.
The Boxers have suffered a couple of injuries to important players.
Sophomore Tyler Kotchik is out for the season and needs surgery on two ligaments in his knee. Before Kotchik’s injury he had a 2.31 Earned Run Average.
Sophomore Kyle Treadway has also missed a couple starts with a strained shoulder.
The extent of his injury is not yet known but Head Coach Greg Bradley said he is doing well, and fans may expect to see him back before the end of the season.
Despite minor complications the Boxers have played better since the opening to their season where they started out 0-12.
Since that skid they have gone 9-6 and have been competitive in most of their match-ups.
Two big reasons have been the bat of freshmen outfielder Walker Olis, and the timely performance from senior pitcher Matt Delegato.
Olis has hit well for average, batting .388 so far on the year in 85 at bats (third most on the team). He’s also put five balls out of the park, making up for more than two thirds of the Boxers homeruns.
Delegato has been the most efficient pitcher reeling in a 1.84 ERA and securing a 5-1 record.
“Matt’s done great,” Bradley said. The 18-year veteran coach was emphatic about how well Delegato has been pitching. “I don’t think anyone could have expected this kind of a performance.”
Delegato has also thrown two complete games.
Many have wondered if Rob Dittrick had sustained an injury at the start of the season, but Bradley said he asked Dittrick and was told that he was fine. Since the beginning of the year Dittrick has been back to his old tricks, limiting opposing hitters with a 2.82 ERA.
When asked what sparked the dramatic turn around for the team, Bradley said, “I don’t think me made any big changes. Pitching has been our strength, and we still need to find a way to score runs.”
“The biggest thing we need to improve is our approach at the plate,” said Bradley. “We need to find pitches we can drive.”
A lack of run support has been the story of the season for the Boxers.
With a team batting average of just .236 and only 117 runs, its hard to win ball games.
The Boxers have been outscored 130 to 117.
In regards to the future Bradley said, “Things are still a work in progress.”
It’s still too early to start planning for next year, but Bradley said he wanted to get younger players more time on the field so they can gain as much live experience as possible.
“We’re adjusting to having a lot of new players in the program,” said Bradley. “For the rest of the season we want to finish strong as we can and give our upperclassmen a good ending to their careers,” said Bradley.