Lauren Allison, Staff Writer
The men’s baseball team has faced a lot of adversity this season. The Saints welcomed 14 freshmen, 10 from out of state, and four transfers. Along with new players, the team faced the devastating loss of Head Coach Ken Garland. With the passing of Garland, it hasn’t been an easy task staying focused on the season.
SMU is currently sitting with a 8-27 GNAC record and 9-34 overall. Although it’s been a tough season, first-year assistant coach Kramer Champlin says that the team has improved a lot. “Our understanding and execution of situations during the game has improved steadily throughout the season.”
With the two weeks left of season, the team as a whole look to keep improving and get a few more wins under their belts. The GNAC conference remains one of the toughest conferences in the NCAA D-II level. Western Oregon is favored to claim the conference title yet again.
Freshman Ryne Oshiro and Tanner Inouye were both recognized as GNAC Player of the Week after amazing performances. For the week, Oshiro had a .625 average, hit three home runs, and drove six RBI’s. All together he scored six times, with one double and three walks, including an intentional walk. Inouye proved himself on the mound that helped secure the series split on the road against Northwest Nazarene University in the first game of the second doubleheader. The sophomore recorded a season high with striking out seven batters. He only allowed two runs, one earned, to score on six hits.
Although Inouye played a great game and earned the GNAC Player of the Week, he stated “I felt lucky, and my teammates had a huge part in my success.”
“Being a pitching coach and seeing one of my pitchers have a great game, being mentally strong for nine straight innings and being recognized has been the highlight of the season so far,” commented Champlin. “Having both Tanner and Ryne be recognized for their hard work and great performances is awesome to see,” he added.
The two wins against NNU were important for SMU. When asked about the season so far, Inouye said that “Although it has been a rough season on and off the field, especially with the huge loss of our head coach Ken Garland. He was the heart and soul of this baseball program, at the end of the day we have each other because we’re a family. His favorite part about this season is that “no matter if we win or lose, we stick together as a family.”
The Saints have two more double headers in the season including Montana State Billings, currently first in conference play and Concordia University, currently fourth.