After a hot 2021 season, the Pacific University Baseball team is off to a slower start in the 2022 season. The team has won just one of their three series so far. Last year, the PU Baseball team won the Northwest Conference title, coming close to attending the NCAA Division III College World Series last season.
The Boxers face some added pressure this season with a target on their backs; every team wants to beat them as last year’s conference champs.
PU baseball lost two out of three in series against Pacific Lutheran and Puget Sound, respectively, but rebounded last weekend in their third series against Lewis and Clark, winning two out of three. The Boxer’s record is currently 4-5 in conference play.
Brian Billings, head coach, says that the players put a lot of pressure on themselves early on. Now, they are just trying to have fun and play the game.
“It’s a new group of players, and last year was awesome, but last year was last year,” said Billings. “So, we’re trying to figure out our identity.”
Billings understands the complexity of the sport and said he is confident the team can get everything going in the right direction.
“Baseball is funny, you know, there’s a lot of challenges, and the second you think you figured it out, you get knocked down,” said Billings. “So we are excited for the next opportunity and nothing wrong with a little early season adversity.”
First baseman and fifth-year senior Ryan Krout believes the keyword is “improve” and that it’s tough when big expectations are going into the year.
“I think the best thing we can do is realize that every game counts and trying to compete, as opposed to thinking things are going to play out a certain way,” said Krout. “At the end of nine innings, if we are a winner, then so be it, but if not then, we can live with that, as long as we compete hard until the end.”
A junior and pitcher for the Boxers, David Allen, said there is a different feel to this season’s conference play, as other NWC teams now want to beat the Boxers.
“It is noticeable when we play teams; when they find success against us, they celebrate it a lot, and they make sure we know about it,” said Allen. “So that’s been a little bit different; we are getting chirped at a lot more than usual.”
Allen emphasized the team still has a long way to go, but the group is optimistic and ready to compete. The Boxers plan to take every series one step at a time and continue to play for each other and the program. — Emily Rutkowski
Emily Rutkowski is a sophomore from Mesa, Arizona. She enjoys playing soccer for the women's soccer team here at Pacific University. In her free time, she loves being outdoors and socializing with friends and family.