The Pacific University baseball team started and ended the 2017 season with wins over conference rival George Fox University. Those wins were highlights for the team who finished the season 15-23 overall and 8-17 in conference play.
The Boxers dealt with many injuries to key players throughout the year and felt like they performed well considering. Senior leader and second team All-Northwest conference selection Kurtis Kloke was proud of how his teammates battled all season.
“I think the standings don’t quite show how well our team performed this year,” Kloke said. “We had a lot of different aspects that we progressed in from last year and our guys were grinding day in and day out. We did have to deal with a lot of injuries this year but when it came down to it, the games just didn’t end up the way we wanted and that’s just baseball sometimes.”
Kloke has been a consistent performer for the Boxer baseball team during his collegiate career and led the team in hits with 40 runs batted in (RBI) with 26 and homeruns with 11. Kloke credits much of his success to his coaches.
“For me it was really just a confidence thing,” Kloke said. “The coaches here at Pacific never made me feel like I wasn’t good enough to play for them and I think knowing they were confident in me, it allowed me to just go play and let my hard work pay off.”
Although the team did not place where they wanted at the end of the season, the Boxers still had many highlights and were able to have a strong finish to the season for the senior players.
“Being able to play with all of the seniors during their last few games was special,” sophomore Eli Wisdom said. “All of them gave a lot to Pacific baseball and they worked and played hard all the way through the season. They are a hardworking group of individuals and the way they play the game is admirable.”
The Boxers will be graduating many seniors from this year’s team. However, they are looking forward to the off-season as they now feel they have something to prove.
“I think we all have a chip on our shoulder heading into the off season and we will be working hard to improve in all facets of the game,” Wisdom said. “The group of returners, especially the 2018 seniors, know how to get after it in the off-season. I am looking forward to see how much we improve and bring to the table next year.”
As for Kloke, his career at Pacific may be over, but he will be taking many memories with him after graduation.
“I’ll miss my teammates,” Kloke said. “I’ve met my closest friends on this team and I will never forget that. It’s been a pleasure to compete with every one of them and it’s been a lot of fun.”