Hamline University’s President Linda Hanson throws out the first pitch to junior pitcher Aaron Stoneberg before the first ever game played at CHS Field on April 11, 2015.

There’s no place like home

Piper baseball holds a winning record at their new home for the next 25 years, CHS Field.

April 22, 2015

After the Pipers won their first ever game at CHS Field on April 11, they picked up some momentum and are in the MIAC playoff mix.

“I think it’s a fabulous day for our Hamline baseball…we are the first to play in this marvelous new stadium; so we were the first and certainly the best,” President Linda Hanson said during the opening game at CHS Field.

The Pipers are 6-1 (3-1 MIAC) in their new home in downtown St. Paul. They opened play at CHS Field with a two-game MIAC showdown against Concordia. Prior to the double header, the Pipers were seventh place in conference with a 3-5 record coming off a sweep against Augsburg on April 8.

On a 62 degree and sunny day President Hanson threw the first pitch to junior pitcher Aaron Stoneberg.

“Well, I was really honored. I was a little nervous but I was so relieved once we got it over the home plate,” President Hanson said.

Before the Pipers defense took the field, the team gathered and chanted “1-2-3 together.”

First-year pitcher Zach Smith started on the mound for the Pipers and his first pitch landed in sophomore catcher Dominic Dandrea’s glove for a strike.

“Just stepping on the field was pretty incredible. I know for myself and all my teammates it’s a pretty surreal feeling,” junior outfielder Dan Moro said. “That first pitch, just seeing it go for a strike.”

The Pipers got on the board first, scoring four runs in the second inning to take a 4-0 lead. Later, Concordia rallied to tie the game in the fourth inning.

Sophomore Collin Olstad said the Pipers needed to eliminate the big inning rallies on defense. He said it killed them in the St. Thomas series on April 4. In game one they allowed four runs in the third inning and lost 7-3. In the second game, they allowed five runs in one inning and lost 7-9.

Head Coach Jim Weyandt agreed.

“We really outplayed St. Thomas [all but] two innings of baseball,” he said. “It was a tough pill to swallow leaving the field with two loses.”

Moro said when a team is on a tear all they can do is fight back.

“That’s baseball. We’re going to put up runs, the other team is going to put up runs…when the other team is putting up runs all you can do is answer,” Moro said.

The Pipers responded to Concordia after finding themselves down 4-5 heading into the bottom of the sixth inning.

Sophomore Jacob Picht started the rally with a double to left field. Senior Evan Cordell advanced Picht to third with a single. Senior Chris Zeller, at the plate on a full count, did not bite on the seventh pitch and loaded the bases with a walk. Junior Andy Sammon brought Picht home on a fielder’s choice where Zeller was forced out. After an error on a throw to first base, junior Tyler Summers reached first base and Cordell scored the go-ahead run. The Pipers were up 6-5.

In the bottom of the seventh inning the pressure was on the Pipers’ pitcher, junior Shay Torgerson. Torgerson had come in to relieve in the sixth inning and threw a wild pitch that put Concordia up 5-4. In the seventh, he shook it off and led the Pipers to a 1-2-3 inning to close out the first game at CHS Field with a win.

Following Concordia, the Pipers recorded their first doubleheader sweep in CHS Field against UM-Morris winning 8-3 and 4-3. Afterwards, they returned to MIAC play against Macalester on April 15. Macalester was at the bottom of the conference with an 0-8 MIAC record.

Weyandt said in the MIAC no team can be overlooked.

“Baseball in the MIAC is the best Division III conference in the country for a reason. Every team top to bottom is very, very strong,” Weyandt said.

Macalester took a 4-0 lead in the fourth inning. However, the Pipers stayed resilient and scored four runs in the bottom of the fourth inning to tie the game. In the eighth inning, Cordell hit an RBI single to left field to bring senior Matt Connell home for the game winning run.

The Pipers carried the momentum over to game two against Macalester with a 14-2 win to lift their MIAC record to 6-6 as they reached .500 in conference for the first time this season.

The Pipers completed their home stand against Augsburg last Saturday in a non-conference friendly and won 10-4 to bring their winning streak to five.

CHS Field has created a spark for the Pipers as they hold a 6-1 record at the new venue.

“It’s just the start of what’s going to be a great relationship with the city over there and the [Saint Paul] Saints,” Weyandt said.

The Pipers will return to CHS Field next Wednesday, April 29.

As the team is in the mix for a conference playoff berth, Olstad said his focus is on winning.

“As long as we win that’s what my main goal is,” Olstad said. “I want us to get to the playoffs; I want us to win a MIAC Championship. That only happens if everyone does their job and my job is to get on base and help us score runs.”

No matter what, Moro said the team will always stick together – a word the Pipers chanted before taking the field on opening day at CHS Field.

“That’s just always been our thing, just kind of a family. That’s what we view ourselves, as a family and no matter what happens we’ll always have each other. Win or lose, we’ll always be ‘together,’” Moro said.

Leave a Comment

The Oracle • Copyright 2024 • FLEX WordPress Theme by SNOLog in

Comments (0)

All The Oracle Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *