Midwest Crossover Tournament

Last weekend was the Midwest Conference Crossover Tournament in Galesburg, Illinois. Your Lawrence Vikings baseball team played four games against some tough teams and battled hard through all four.

The Vikings started their weekend on Saturday morning against Illinois College. Junior Chris Shaw threw for six innings, giving up only two hits and no earned runs. Shaw has put forth some strong performances so far this season. Sophomore Tony Caputa and senior Kyle Duex came in for relief, keeping the pitching front strong. However, while defense wins ball games, you can’t win without scoring. That’s where the solid offense from sophomore Reno Zemrak who hit 2 for 3, junior Nolan Spencer, who hit 2 for 4 and senior Travis Weber, who also hit 2 for 4, came into play, each scoring some runs for Lawrence. The Vikings kept their offense going throughout the game, adding on some insurance runs for good measure. Despite a rocky ninth inning, the Vikings came out on top, winning the game 5-3.

The Lawrence Vikings kept the positive and productive play going as they started their second game of the day. Saturdays are for the boys, as is evident in their 15-5 blowout against Knox College. Senior Matthew Holliday went 4 for 5, scored two runs and touched home plate three times. Sophomore Patrick McDonnell had a stellar day, going 3 for 4 with a home run and four RBIs. These two offensive machines partnered with a whole line up of effective bats. The Vikings completed the obliteration of the Knox baseball team. “We were really feeding off of each other and challenging the opposing pitchers one [at-bat] at a time. Our entire lineup hits really well, and when we are clicking, it can get hard to put us away. We talk constantly about how the pitcher is attacking us and adjust our approaches accordingly. Once we get a feel for how a pitcher is trying to get us out, we can really start to do some damage,” said McDonnell. With a total of 18 hits against four separate pitchers, the Vikings closed out the first day of the tournament with hot bats and two wins.

Sunday, the second day of the Crossover Tournament, was a bit of a different story. The team seemed to come out a bit flat compared to the day before. While the team did drop two games, there were a few highlights. In the first game on Sunday, sophomore Mike Brady went 2 for 4 for the Vikings, accompanied by solo home runs from both senior Travis Weber and junior Andrew Lauber. Despite these awesome offensive plays, the Vikings fell to Cornell College 9-3.

The second game on Sunday had the same fate, as the Vikings lost 14-3 in seven innings to Monmouth College. Much like the first game, there were a few offensive highlights. Sophomore Ethan Jones went 3 for 3, proving quite effective against Monmouth’s pitching. Holliday went 2 for 3 and McDonnell drove in two runs with a solid double in the seventh inning. “Obviously, we were disappointed with how Sunday went. That being said, there was a lot of good this weekend, and I think we proved that we are a threat to other teams going forward. Everyone knows their role right now, and we are excited to compete moving forward,” said McDonnell.

Overall, it was a tough weekend for the Vikings, but Saturday showed their potential to be dominant in the conference. That is the level they want to be at every game. “We are excited. We are in contention and have lots of baseball to play the next few weeks. Our pitching is doing a great job keeping us in games, and when our offense gets going we can be tough to beat. We are ready to give the rest of the conference a hard time and hopefully compete in the conference tournament,” said McDonnell in regard to how they’re feeling about the rest of the season. Head Baseball Coach Jason Anderson says, “This team has been and continues to be a joy to coach. They care for one another very much and are working hard to build a consistent program here at Lawrence.”

Your Lawrence Vikings’ next home games will be Sunday, April 29 at 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. against St. Norbert College. Make sure to go and show your support!

Maderaine MacLean