Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Warhawk baseball continues to dominate conference schedule

John Hynst
#35 Nick Paget hit a ball down the first base line in a double header against Lacrosse on Sunday April 23rd at Prucha Field at Jim Miller Stadium.

The UW-Whitewater baseball team has continued their excellent start to their conference schedule recently. The Warhawks swept UW-Stout, winning all four games, and continued that success, winning three of four against the Titans of Oshkosh. The lone loss against the Titans came in a loss of three. In a double header against the UW-Platteville Pioneers, the Warhawks won both games by a score of 28-3.

While the Warhawks have only one loss on the conference slate, that doesn’t come without any sort of adversity along the way. Injuries have started to become apparent for a team that has shown to, thankfully, have a lot of depth at key positions. Despite the injuries, Coach John Vodenlich is feeling great about the direction of the team as the conference slate continues.

“From a mindset standpoint, from a confidence standpoint, we are exactly where we need to be,” Vodenlich said. “The guys are playing well; they’re having fun. It’s a positive, professional environment right now.”

Before the season had started, Vodenlich preached the depth of the team. As the season has gone on, that has become evident. Seven players have runs, eight players have hits, as well as seven that have home runs in the hitting department for the Warhawks, including Sam Paden, Darryl Jackson, and Dom McVay, guys that had roles last year but have significantly improved in 2024. Vodenlich has been very happy about the improvement of the hitting and the team overall.

“For Darryl, we knew he could be that type of guy as a defender, and he played great baseball,” Vodenlich stated. “Our emphasis with him was always defense. He’s been able to put the whole package together.” Vodenlich continued, stating, “A lot of times with younger players, you see the talent there… some issues with showing consistency. The biggest thing that they gain is that confidence, and all the guys are playing very confidently.

One very impressive stat for the Warhawks during their conference slate is their point differential, which is +88 as of Saturday following the Eau Claire game. Not only have the Warhawks been winning, but they have been in convincing fashion as well. With such impressive winning margins, Vodenlich is emphasizing the next-pitch approach with four games against the Blugolds, who hadn’t won a conference game ahead of this weekend.

“These are obviously games you are a little worried about,” Vodenlich said. “You don’t want to overlook anyone. You look at our league, and you see Platteville beat Stout three out of four, and then Stout turns around and beats La Crosse, who was chosen to win the league. So, you see those dynamics happen, so you can’t take any team for granted. If you look at Eau Claire’s games, they have some close games; they’re right there a lot of the time. We have talked about being a mentally tough, resilient team, and I believe we are.”

Vodenlich also reached a hefty milestone earlier this year, earning 700 career wins. Though he is excited about the achievement, he is more excited about the team success he has had and the fact that he has done it in one location.

“You don’t really think about it; it’s not really something that I care about all that much,” Vodenlich explained. “What I really cherish is the fact that I’ve been able to be at one school that long. At the end of the day, if you’ve got good athletes and some type of consistency, you’re going to win games. When I think back, it’s not really about the team, so much as the players I know that helped me get those numbers, including our fearless leader, Ryan Callahan. It’s really cool to think about all of the players that we have been involved with.”

The Warhawks won both games on the first double header against the Blugolds, winning by a combined score of 33 to 5 between the two games.

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About the Contributors
Mason Thompson, Men's Sports Journalist
John Hynst
John Hynst, Business Manager

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