Baseball off to best start in years after 6-2 road trip
Carroll University’s baseball team finished with a 6-2 record during their March 6-14 annual tournament trip to Fort Myers, Fla., the best record for Carroll’s Florida trip in at least 10 years.
Carroll played a total of eight games at the Fort Myers tournament, consisting of wins against Southern Vermont College, Dominican University, Finlandia University and Eastern Nazarene College. The only losses were part of the double-header against Dominican and Augustana College, who were ranked #25 pre-season.
The start of the season could not have gone better according to sophomore pitcher Jason Pattengale, who was happy with the outcome of the tournament.
“We came out strong the first game in Florida, and really held the tempo the entire trip,” he said. “Every player, even the non-starters, showed that they can come into a game and make plays and do what needs to be done.”
The 6-2 outcome seemed to be another boost of motivation for the team. The players in a previous interview stated that they wanted to go .500 or better this season.
The strongest players for Carroll this year are Jim Marlin, Chris Elliot and Andy Sturtevant, all seniors and co-captains of the team. Marlin and Elliot continued to rip the ball in the tourney, while Sturtevant had 10 RBI’s in the tourney alone.
Andy Sturtevant, senior catcher and third baseman, felt the Fort Myers tourney has helped prepare them for the rest of their season.
“It demonstrated to us what we are good at and some things we needs to work on,” Sturtevant said. “It obviously is different from practicing on a gym floor to a turf and clay field, but it allowed us to adjust to the differences and allowed us to get out some of the kinks that we needed to work out.”
Sturtevant went on to say that he was impressed with not only Marlin and Elliot, but also by starting pitcher Jason Pattengale with Ryne Plager and Steve Belknap as reliable closers.
The team’s goal is to earn a top spot in the Midwest Conference North Division, win twenty games and overall do well in the conference tournament.
Sturtevant said, “We have improved on pitching. We had two pitchers pitch complete games for the first time in I’m not sure how long…I think that defense has improved slightly, but will be much better for the rest of the season.”
Carroll will begin their conference games on Saturday, April 4 against Beloit College at Beloit. Carroll seems prepared to take it all this season with reliable returning players and promising rookies.
Captain Sturtevant and Pattengale seemed to think so too. Sturtevant said “I think that this is a different Carroll baseball. Although we have been known the last couple of years for out potent offense, we will also prove that our pitching and defense can beat teams as well, which showed predominantly in our two last games in Florida.”
Pattengale agreed with Sturtevant. “The team this year has defiantly formed closer bonds, it shows on and off the field,” he said. “We play as a family, instead of just a bunch of guys who are associated with each other through baseball.”
The first home double header is on Sunday, April 5 at 1 p.m. against conference team Beloit College at Waukesha West High School.