Pipers are up to bat for a stellar season

Isaac Roy, Sports Reporter

Ryan Conn of the class of 2022 throws a pitch in a game photographed by the Oracle from Hamline Baseball’s 2022 season. Despite the challenges of last season, the Hamline baseball team is looking at a positive start to their 2023 season and hope that new coaching staff will help to make the difference.

After a 14–25 season just a year ago with only six wins in conference, the Pipers look to put that in the rearview mirror with the new season beginning.

To kick off their season, Piper baseball  started with three non-conference games against Buena Vista in Topeka, Kansas.

“We did have a difficult season but I’m excited for the upcoming season, we return a lot of great leaders from last year,” head coach James Weyandt said. “We are looking to bounce back with a winning season and make a push towards a MIAC playoff spot.”

The Pipers struggled in recent memory as they have not had a winning season since 2016, they ended the 2021 season with a record of 14–26 similar to a year ago.

The season began last weekend with a three game tilt against Buena Vista down the midwest in Topeka.

Weyandt enters his 20th season on the coaching staff and his 11th as head coach. He was pleased with the way his team performed in fall practices and the steps they have taken in preparation. 

“I’m excited about our experience from a position player side of things and development some of our young pitchers have had this offseason,” Weyandt said. “I’m really looking forward to seeing how our guys perform in our upcoming stretch of difficult non-conference games.” 

This confidence is also seen from the roster as one of the team’s captains Colin Schuetz is excited to see what is in store for the season. The depth on the roster has excited the junior outfielder. 

“It is important because of the inevitable injuries and slumps that occur throughout the season,” Schuetz said. “I think this year we are focusing more on finding an identity, we have been trying to minimize our weaknesses and gain the confidence and knowledge about our strengths as a team.” 

The offense will have a different style this season as former assistant coach (2016-2018) Case Kreitlow rejoins the staff as the new hitting coach. 

“We were introduced to a lot of new exercises and drills that we have implemented on our own, the main one being exercises more focused on our core strength,” Schuetz said.

The pitching staff will also see a new look as they welcomed a familiar face in Aaron Rushing as the assistant coach last December. 

Rushing spent his last 17 years coaching at Carleton College. Rushing will also be leading the pitchers in hopes to develop the arms of the program. These new additions aim to help boost the Piper’s run differential category, as last season they finished in a very negative hole of -60. 

The Pipers have spent the winter molding the new mix and training style to prepare to turn the tables in terms of performance in recent memory. 

With an experienced and driven roster and some fresh faces in the coaching staff, the program as a whole is excited to get back on the diamond and shock the baseball world of the upper midwest.