Baseball looks for playoff run

Although things didn’t go the way it wanted them to this last week, the baseball team is still in prime position to make a postseason run.

The Warhawks will travel to UW-Stevens Point to face UW-Oshkosh at 10 a.m. in the opening game of the WIAC tournament.

Sophomore Justin Lambert pitches against UW-La Crosse Saturday in a doubleheader. Lambert has proved to be the Warhawks No. 3 pitcher this season. Photo by Ryan Kolter

The ’Hawks earned the No. 2 seed.

Since 2001, the Warhawks and the Pointers have been the only teams to win the conference tournament. The Pointers captured seven titles while the ’Hawks have three.

“Right now we have to play good baseball,” head coach John Vodenlich said. “We’re going up there to compete, but we want to make sure we’re improving  and keeping our eye on the NCAA regionals.”

The winner of the tournament earns an automatic bid into the NCAA Division III tournament. Regardless of what happens in the conference tournament, Vodenlich said the ’Hawks should earn a spot in the tournament.

Although the ’Hawks don’t have home-field position in the conference tournament, they have been selected as one of eight teams in Division III to host regionals. That is crucial for the ’Hawks because they are 17-2 at home.

“It’s huge,” senior left-hander Riley Tincher said. “Anytime you get to play in front of the crowd that we have is a huge thing. It energizes us and just us being able to be at home is incredible.”

In order to make a run to the College World Series, the ’Hawks will need solid, consistent pitching at the third and fourth spot in the rotation.

“I feel very confident where we are right now,” Vodenlich said. “We’ve worked all year trying to find those [third and fourth] spots. Justin Lambert has done a tremendous job, and Matt Roberts has stepped up in the four hole for us.

Jack Larsen has also thrown the ball better than I have ever seen him throw.”

Tincher said the team has the talent to go to the College World Series, but just have to put it all together.

“Talking with most of the seniors, it’s all or nothing right now,” Tincher said. “We have the team to do it, we just have to come together as a team and have that focus and drive to win each game at a time.”