Victory over Northwood has baseball team feeling hungry for more wins
By Devon Jeffreys | firstname.lastname@example.org
The beginning of the 2008 season hasn’t been easy on the Flagler baseball team, but the Saints know a long season has its ups and downs.
“We just have to realize we had a tough schedule at first and we’ve been playing through some injuries,” senior outfielder Glenn Kiture said. “We just have to keep our heads up and stay positive so the good times can come.”
Suffering through a 10-game losing streak, the Saints secured an extra inning win over Northwood on Friday night to snap their skid.
The Saints jumped out to a 4-0 lead, but surrendered the lead to Northwood late and feared the worst.
“Once we took the lead 4-0 it was like a whole other team out on the field,” senior first baseman Kenny Ray said. “When they tied it up, you could just see that everyone felt like ‘here it comes again.’ But we pulled through. It was big for us, being able to win that first game again.”
The Saints actually trailed in the bottom of the 12th inning but an RBI triple by Kiture plated the tying run.
In the following inning, Ray started the Saints off with a one-out single and advanced to third on a Joey Rivera double. Nate Van Der Sluys squeezed him home and gave the Saints the win they had been searching for since their last win on Feb. 2.
“It was a big win because we had such a long losing streak,” pitcher Austin Donmoyer said. “It was good to get back on our home field and win to get us out of that funk.”
Donmoyer pitched 6.2 innings, allowing four runs and striking out nine. His 3.62 ERA and 18 strikeouts lead a pitching staff that is just beginning to recover from early season injuries.
“It all just worked out,” Ray said. “Our pitching dominated and didn’t give up anything towards the end. It really helped us out as hitters.”
Before the victory over Northwood, the Saints struggled to get anything going. They scored 12 runs in their previous eight games, all losses on the road.
“We might have been trying too hard,” Kiture said. “It was just nice to relax. It felt good being back home. It was a better environment for everybody.”
During the skid, the Saints team batting average dropped below .220 and hits were hard to come by.
“We’re mired in a slump,” coach Dave Barnett said. “Our hitting has not really been consistent. I think we’ll break out. They’re just pressing a little bit, trying to do too much.”
Barnett has talked to his team about taking more of a two-strike approach in terms of getting the best they can out of the pitches they’re getting.
“We’re over swinging,” he said. “We’ve just got to settle in and make better contact.”
The Saints were primed to build on their victory over Northwood during a Saturday doubleheader, but a rain-out cut the series to just the one game.
Despite the rain-out halting their drive, Kiture believes the team will ride the momentum they created with the win.
“It felt good to finally get a ‘W’ after 10 games,” he said. “The whole atmosphere around the team was a lot better. We’re hungry for it. We know that we can finally do it. It’s a lot more than just saying we can win. When you actually do it, it makes things a lot better. We’re just trying to build off that.”
The Saints travel to the University of North Florida on Tuesday. Before returning home for a 13-game home stand.
“We’ve decided that we’re not going to accept losing,” Donmoyer said. “Losing is not going to be accepted on the team.”