Coronavirus strikes out GNAC season
Kierrla Yates, Staff Writer
Before all spring sports competitions were cancelled by the Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC) as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, our baseball and softball teams were beginning to dig into some great matchups. Of course, the spring weather had also caused some changes to the Saints’ schedules before the cancellation. The men’s team had their extra innings against the Montana State University (MSU) Billings postponed and the women’s second game against Western Oregon was also postponed.
Despite weather challenges, both teams have played a few conference games, enough to place the ladies in the top three. Our men currently find themselves tied with MSU Billings for third place. As this season was just getting into the swing of things, both teams have played excellent games and made great comebacks to take home some wins.
During the men’s recent matchup with MSU Billings, the Saints struggled in the first game to find their offensive edge. Billings won the game by a score of 15-6, as they managed to score seven points in the second inning, leaving the Saints behind. However, in their next three games, the Saints found their rhythm and won 11-3, 12-8, and closed with a tie of 3-3. Looking at their two middle games, the Saints were nearly a different team, and were no longer struggling to find their offense. In their second game, MSU Billings scored first, leaving the crowd anxious to see if this game would be like the last.
However, their luck ran short and they only scored one run, not seven. Tides had changed in the bottom of that inning, as Bryant Nakagawa answered back with a run of his own. Senior, Micah McNicoll kept the same energy as Nakagawa and scored a triple down the right line allowing the Saints to score three runs, putting them in the lead.
Ryne Oshiro followed suit with an RBI double to end the inning with five points. As they progressed into the third inning, the men kept up their work scoring six killer points. MSU scored a few runs but could not grasp Tanner Inouye’s great pitching for he gave up no walks and struck out seven batters. A comeback like this sheds great light on the determination of the Saints.
On the women’s side, their comeback win against the Western Oregon Wolves was one for the books. Our Saints were first to score in the bottom of the third with two runs. Western Oregon finally returned the fire in the fifth inning by scoring six points, then one more in the sixth inning putting the game at 7-2. The Saints came back for the Wolves in the bottom of the sixth scoring four points, followed by one more in the seventh, tying the game. The Wolves relentlessly fought back and scored two more runs in the eighth inning, however, the Saints answered back immediately with two runs of their own, leaving the game, once again, a tie.
Neither team was able to make any runs in the ninth inning, but Western Oregon managed to score two runs in the top of the tenth giving them the hopeful win. However, the Saints offense found their rhythm, scoring two more runs, tying up the game once again. This set up Devyn Connolly to make the final play. Connolly hit the ball left center allowing Oliva Schmidt to complete her run, giving the Saints the win.
Close games and comebacks are some of the best games in sports because of the suspense and intensity the atmosphere creates. It is unfortunate that the season had to end so quickly, but nonetheless, the Saint Martin’s fans were not left without exciting matchups to watch. As the athletes continue to practice amidst the pandemic, even without their coaches, it will be great to watch what kind of hunger the Saints will have next year.