by Eva Dean Folkert
A season-opening trip to Indiana for the Hope College baseball team allowed the Flying Dutchmen to see some rare game action before their annual spring break trip. After going 1-2 at Franklin College over the weekend, head coach Stu Fritz and his team are now looking forward to a new set of games down South.
While winning 15-7 on Friday, the Flying Dutchmen lost a pair to the Grizzlies on Saturday, 10-6 and 8-3.
"Franklin is a very good offensive team," said Fritz. "Yesterday they gave us lots of free bases (14 walks) that we capitalized on. Today we had six errors which is uncharacteristic for us. We were not sharp against a good team like that made it to a NCAA regional championship last year.
"We had some good individual performances in both games, just not a great team effort today. We did not put all three phases of the game together very well."
In Game 1, Franklin jumped out to a 9-1 lead after four innings. The Flying Dutchmen got their first run of the game off the bat of senior Mason Opple of Hudsonville (Hudsonville HS), pictured left, who slugged a solo homerun in the bottom of the fourth. Opple led Hope at the plate by going 3-for-5 in the first game.
An inning later, junior Evan Maday of Grand Rapids (East Kentwood HS), pictured right, hit a homer too, scoring two.
Three Hope pitchers took the mound in the first game. Junior Max Gaishin of Stevensville (Lakeshore HS) took the loss after pitching an inning and a two-thirds while giving up three runs and four hits while striking out two.
In Game 2, the Flying Dutchmen scored their three runs in the eighth innings. For the game, they records three hits, seven walks and left 11 on base.
As in the first game, three Hope pitchers worked the second game. Sophomore Shane Hykin of Ada (Forest Hills Northern HS) got the start and worked three innings, allowing six runs on six hits while striking out one to be credited with the loss.
Hope next games are in Winter Haven, Florida, beginning Friday, March 13. The Flying Dutchmen will play 11 games on their southern swing.
"We are excited for our spring trip to Florida," Fritz said. "Last year, we went down there and went 9-0. This year, our schedule is very formidable. We'll go down and learn things about ourselves and expect to perform at a high level. But we're not going to look too far ahead because it's not going to be easy. We'll just embrace the competition and take one day at a time."