It’s been 11 months since their last game, and the Red Raider baseball team is ready to be back on the field. Returning nearly the entire team from a year ago, there is a special determination and energy as they head into the upcoming season. Last year’s squad finished the shortened season strong, winning six of their last seven games to finish with a record of 11-9.
Senior Sutton Derr noted that in comparison to much of the NAIA, they were fortunate to get in so many games before the cancellation of the season, but nonetheless there is certainly an eagerness to play that back 60% of the schedule, which holds most of the GPAC matchups.
“I am super pumped for this year because of where we were headed last season” Derr said, mentioning that the team was on pace to break many offensive records.
Defensively, errors were occasionally a thorn in the Raiders’ side but another year full of work and the addition of even more defensive talent figures to boost performances on both sides of the ball.Controlling the mound for Northwestern this year will be a well-seasoned pitching staff looking to lead that defensive effort throughout the year.
“With our pitching staff having more time to develop and get stronger, they definitely have improved immensely and will be the backbone to our team,” Derr said.
Also playing into the high expectations for the year is the strong chemistry the team shares.
“It’s great being a part of a team where everyone is really close together, real tightknit,” junior catcher Isaac Thurm said; “[I] just love the community aspect, and the relationships we have with each other.”
Sophomore Mark Cooley also commented on the positivity surrounding the team, mentioning that being around such a great group of guys pushes him to do his best not only on the diamond but in the classroom as well.
The season starts next week for NW as they will play a four-game series with Clarke University at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, followed by a string of games over spring break in Missouri and Oklahoma. As the season finally arrives, there is definitely an excitement about what this team will be able to accomplish.
Sutton said, “It will definitely be fun to watch because this team is special.”