Baseball begins season with tournament losses

Allison Mueller

Danny Moriarty / Winonan

The Winona State University baseball team began the season with a road trip to Tahlequah, Okla. which resulted in three losses against the Northeastern State University RiverHawks.

The Warriors started off with an early lead in the first game of a double-header Saturday, Feb. 18. Junior Joe Kubera scored first off an error by the right fielder in the top of the first, followed by a single from senior Jesus Cazares that scored junior Taylor field.

Kubera contributed to the scoring again by singling in first-year Derek Martin in the second inning. The next inning, Martin grew the lead to four with an RBI single to left. Northeastern State scored in the bottom of the inning, leaving the score 4-1 after three innings.

The RiverHawks took the lead in the fourth after a pair of doubles and an error by the Warriors that cost them two runs. The opponent tacked on a pair of runs in the sixth inning, one off another error by the Warriors, which extended their lead 7-4.

The Warriors fought back with a comeback in the seventh inning. Junior Mitchell Heid drove in Field with two outs, cutting the lead to two. The Warriors’ comeback was spoiled after a ground ball to third to end the game.

Game two was a nailbiter that went into extra innings.

The Warriors were trailing after the first inning 4-1 after a three-run home run by the RiverHawks. In the third inning, Kubera scored off an error, but they lost the run in the bottom half of the inning from a RiverHawk sac fly.

The Warriors scored two runs off of two errors by the RiverHawks, but they responded in the bottom half of the inning with a two run-home run, leaving the score 7-4 after four innings.

In the seventh inning, the Warriors started another comeback and they were not to be shut down this time. They tacked on six runs including Kubera’s first home run of the season that put them up 11-7 going into the bottom of the inning. The Warriors could not close out the game as the RiverHawks had a home run of their own and a three run single to tie the game and send it into extra innings where the Warriors lost an error by the first baseman in the 11th inning.

The Warriors’ weekend wrapped up Sunday with a blowout loss with a score of 17-5. The RiverHawks put up eight runs in the first inning and seven in the sixth to complete the sweep and send the Warriors home 0-3 to start the season.

The Warriors are coming off a 2016 record of 17 wins and 30 losses.

“It was a disappointing season,” head coach Kyle Poock said. “Last year came down to injuries that were the key things that hurt us the most. We have some upperclassmen pitchers returning that I hope will get us going.”

Poock also encouraged everyone to come down to every home game as the Warriors start the season in one of the most competitive conferences in the nation.

The Warriors head to Florida in two weeks for a series of games against St. Edwards University from Austin, Texas, Lynn University from Boca Raton, Fla., Florida Tech from Melbourne, Fla. and Palm Beach Atlantic University from West Palm Beach, Fla.

By Danny Moriarty