Hot starts continue on the field for Warhawk baseball

Freshman+first+baseman+and+pitcher+Donavan+Brandl+%2834%29+runs+across+the+baseball+field+during+the+Warhawks+game+against+UW-Stevens+Point%2C+Saturday%2C+March+20th.

Kylie McCombe

Freshman first baseman and pitcher Donavan Brandl (34) runs across the baseball field during the Warhawks game against UW-Stevens Point, Saturday, March 20th.

Devin Ulrich, Sports Editor

The Warhawk baseball team continues to dominate their opponents to start off their 2021 season. This past wednesday they faced a double header against the Titans of UW-Oshkosh, a conference opponent. 

In game one of the double header, Whitewater found themselves in a 0-2 hole heading into the bottom half of the 2nd inning after Matt Scherrman hit a two RBI single for the Titans. The Warhawks though bounced right back with a huge six run 2nd inning from some wild pitches and errors by Oshkosh giving Whitewater a commanding 6-2 lead headed to the 3rd inning.  

The next few innings were in pretty control staying same score wise due to a great pitching performance by freshman starter, Dononvan Brandl. Brandl pitched six innings and delivered seven strikeouts for Whitewater. The Warhawks then again put together another great inning in the 5th by scoring eight more runs to tack on to an impressive lead.

Whitewater did not look back, winning the first game by a score of 14-2 demolishing Oshkosh and gave Brandl his first win of the season as a pitcher. Brandl stuck to his guns on the mound especially in the rainy elements the game endured.

Junior pitcher Westin Muir (18) candidly smiles as he throws a pitch during the Warhawks game against UW-Stevens Point, Saturday, March 20th. (Kylie McCombe )

“I know I needed to just throw strikes and do my job. A bunch of guys really stepped up for us by  swinging the bat which led to runs, especially with a lot of two out hitting,” said Brandl. 

Game two of the double header was a scoreless affair for most of the first half of the matchup. The Warhawks finally were able to get on the scoreboard with an RBI single in the 5th by Ian Drays. The lack of scoring runs continued for the most part of the game until in the 8th inning when Zach Taylor of the Titans hit a 2-run blast to take a 2-1 lead for Oshkosh.

The Warhawks responded quickly in the next half inning of the eighth when Ryan Norton crushed a 2-run homer to regain the lead for Whitewater. Norton felt on cloud nine after getting the lead back to his team.

The feeling of hitting that home run was unbelievable. It’s something I’ve never experienced before. Knowing all the hard work is finally paying off makes everything worth it and I’m excited to have many more opportunities to contribute towards our team’s success,” said Norton.

The late game heroics did not end there as the Titans were able to tie the game back up in the top of the 9th from a solo home run by Hunter Staniske. The game was tied headed into the last half inning of the game and Oshkosh was able to retire the first two batters. 

Though Whitewater was able to hit a double and create a walk two put two base runners on with two outs with the game still tied. On the next at bat Oshkosh threw a wild pitch advancing the runners for Whitewater to 2nd and 3rd base. Then a crazy ending to the game occurred when Oshkosh was called for a balk which automatically advanced the runners leading to another win 4-3 for Whitewater! A crazy ending to keep Whitewater in the winning column.

Head coach of Whitewater baseball, John Vodenlich continues to be so impressed with his team’s start to the season especially with the year everyone has dealt with.

“You know I’m impressed the most with the length of time our athletes have stuck with training. This pandemic has been going on in baseball terms as we have cancelled two spring trainings and one full season. So what’s impressive to me is we have only been able to practice not play, so then returning to the game style and picking off where we left off is incredible,” said Vodenlich.

Whitewater continued to see success as the week continued when they played a double header against Finlandia from Michigan. Game one started off with a demolish winning 14-0 off 17 hits and only giving up one hit to Finlandia. Game two was similar for both squads as Whitewater dominated again winning 10-0 and only giving up one hit again. Whitewater baseball is now 6-0 to start the season and battles UW-Lacrosse next on March 31st.

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