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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Feven Getachew
Feven Getachew
May 6, 2024
Michael Lozada
Michael Lozada
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Nathan Hoffman
Nathan Hoffman
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Harvey Wilhelm `24.
Harvey Wilhelm
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Baseball stretches winning streak to 10

Candace Mettle

Graham Fisher ’16 strikes a ball last weekend against Knox College, a four-game series which the Pionners swept.  Photo by Hung Vuong
Graham Fisher ’16 strikes a ball last weekend against Knox College, a four-game series which the Pionners swept.
Photo by Hung Vuong

In the midst of a 10 game winning streak, the Pioneer baseball team has had an amazing first half of the season, one that has not been seen in years. Their motto of “one game at a time” has gotten them two wins away from the school record of win streaks. Last weekend, they handily defeated Knox College in four games to continue this streak. A large part of the success was because of their offensive play. Pitcher, captain and current Athlete of the Week Sam Tinkham ’16 threw his second shutout of the season.

“I’m being more aggressive with my pitching,” Tinkham said. “My pitching style is unique in the sense that I don’t throw a lot of curveballs. My primary two pitches are my fastball and my change-up, which you don’t see much at the D III level.”

As captain for two seasons, Tinkham has been heavily involved in the growth of the team. He admits that last season tested his ability to balance leadership with playing, but the lessons learned through the experience, such as not focusing on uncontrollable circumstances, distributing tasks and returning back to fundamentals has substantially improved his and the team’s play.

“We trust each other and it started in practice in the fall thanks to the coaches,” Tinkham said. He also feels that the depth of this year’s team and the exceptional abilities of each player to perform well in any position has really made a difference.

Head coach Tim Hollibaugh also agrees that the variability of the athletes’ skills has allowed the team to rapidly improve, while adding that defense, an area that used to suffer, is now becoming a strong point of the team.

However, the strongest part of the team is their pitching staff.

“We’ve been able to utilize every pitcher on staff — we have 13 guys that can throw — and so that’s allowed us to not overthrow anybody and to keep our guys healthy, while utilizing the different roles and the different looks that each of the pitchers provide,” Hollibaugh said.

Tinkham’s performance on the mound did not surprise Hollibaugh. Tinkham was recommended to him by the current head baseball coach of Harvard. Since then, Tinkham has been one of the most consistent players on the team.

Both Hollibaugh and Tinkham believe that their offensive play has really come together.

“It really has evolved into a good blend of speed and power,” Hollibaugh said. “The strength of our offense is just guys being more focused on baseball than individual stats.”

Based on the Pioneers’ record, the Conference tournament is in their sights so as long as they remind themselves of their “one game at a time” approach. For Tinkham, this senior season has been special. He has gotten to watch everyone improve and especially loved seeing the first-years experience their first successes of college play while becoming closer with the team.

“I think the biggest thing is that I want us to go out there and reach our full potential, whatever that may be,” Tinkham said. “I have no regrets about this season.”

This weekend the Pioneers will go on the road to take on Illinois College on Saturday and Sunday. Fans can catch the team in action on Tuesday when they host Coe College at 4 p.m.

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