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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Feven Getachew
Feven Getachew
May 6, 2024
Michael Lozada
Michael Lozada
May 6, 2024
Nathan Hoffman
Nathan Hoffman
May 6, 2024
Harvey Wilhelm `24.
Harvey Wilhelm
May 6, 2024

Sales and Mack deliver back-to-back gems in split

Grinnell got all it could have asked for in two superb starts in a doubleheader last weekend against Monmouth College.

In the first game, Andrew Mack ’18 pitched his heart out, going the distance in a five-strikeout complete game effort. Mack allowed only two runs—neither of them earned—but the offense was unable pick him up and the Pioneers fell to Monmouth 2-1 in the first game.

Ian Sales ’15 said it was unfortunate that the Pioneers did not get the win, but praised Mack for a great game pitched.

“Shout out to him because Monmouth is a fastball-hitting team and he was still able to be really effective vs. them with his fastball. And I think that bodes really well for his future,” Sales said.

Sales followed up Mack’s gem with one of his own. The senior pitcher cruised through eight innings, scattering four hits while striking out six and allowing only one earned run.

“We got hit around a lot our first two games vs. Monmouth but I think we adjusted well in our second two games to their more aggressive style. Thanks to Tink [Sam Tinkham ’16] and Fish [Graham Fisher ’16] for talking to us about what they saw from Monmouth [which] allowed me and Mack to do well,” Sales said.

Sales cited his command with the high fastball as being beneficial to his start, especially against Monmouth’s aggressive free-swinging approach.

Saturday was the second doubleheader against Monmouth that Grinnell played last week, having hosted them Thursday, April 2 in two games that featured considerably more offense than the games on Saturday.

Grinnell won a 15-14 thriller on a walk-off RBI (runs batted in) single by Matt Hammond ’17 in the first game on Thursday.

Head coach Tim Hollibaugh was certainly excited about the team’s win on Thursday.

“The greatest thing about baseball is you can walk off. Anytime you can get that, it’s also exciting to see the guys and how much fun they are having,” Hollibaugh said.

The Pioneers fell in the second game 9-5 in a game in which Fisher went six and a third innings, allowing five earned runs on 12 hits.

Both Sales and Hollibaugh believe the team’s depth has been the key tsuccess.

“I think we have a really deep pitching staff. I think we’re just really deep at everything,” Sales said.

Sales highlighted John Essig ’16 and Noah Mathews ’17 in particular as pitchers who could start if any of the current group faltered.

When asked if this was the best team in the past four years Hollibaugh replied, “in terms of quality and depth, yeah without a doubt.”

Depth is sure to be an important factor over the season, as the Pioneers’ grueling schedule has them playing eight doubleheaders within the next 30 days. The depth, along with the positive early showing, has the team looking towards bigger goals in the near future.

“I think every year our goal is to win that Conference Championship. I think it’s certainly attainable this year,” said third baseman Matt Godinsky ’16, who also pointed to experience as a reason for high hopes this season.

“I think the experience we have brought back this year is pretty big. Because the last couple years we had a lot of guys graduate,” he said.

Godinsky also noted that if the Pioneers were to finish first in the Southern Division of the Midwest Conference, they would get to host the Conference Championship game—an immeasurable advantage in the playoffs.

At 2-2 in Conference play, Grinnell men’s baseball has a long way to go before clinching the division. But with the talent and potential this team has, after a strong showing against Monmouth, the Pioneers are optimitic that they could soon be prepping Pioneer Park for a championship game.

After falling to Simpson College 4-5 on Tuesday, the Pioneers will travel to St. Louis for a set of doubleheaders against Washington University in St. Louis. Games are at 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. on Sunday.

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