Six pillars offer hope

Piper baseball reflects on the 2015 season and talks about preparing for the next.


Gino Terrell

Senior shortstop Chris Zeller throws to first base to first-year pitcher Zach Smith in attempt to catch the runner in the rundown.

Jake Kjos, Reporter

The Pipers baseball team needed to win both games of a doubleheader on April 29 against St. John’s to have a chance to make last weekends MIAC playoffs.

Sunshine and clear skies set the tone for the day. Unfortunately, that tone was set for the Johnnies. Pipers fans at CHS Field shuffled around between seats to bask in the warmth of the sun and avoid the cool shade that started to set over the team.

Gabe MacDonald started off the scoring with an RBI single in the first inning for St. John’s. Later, a homerun to right field in the sixth inning by Kurt Jantscher made the score 4-0 and put the game and the Pipers season in jeopardy.

Junior centerfielder Dan Moro scored on an error in the bottom of the inning. It turned out to be the only run of the game for the Pipers as their MIAC playoff hopes ended in the 8-1 loss.

The second game of the doubleheader showed their disappointment as they lost 15-2. The team’s final record was 21 – 19 (8-10 MIAC).

Sophomore rightfielder Collin Olstad said the highlight of the season was getting back into playoff contention after a bad start to conference play.

“After a slow conference start, we bounced back and gave ourselves a chance to make the playoffs,” Olstad said. “In the end, we were just two wins against St. John’s away.”

Olstad said he improved his hitting over the season. He has done so with a .361 batting average that was good for second best on the team and leading the team with 34 RBI’s. Slowing the game down mentally and waiting for a fast ball is what Olstad said he has done.

“Slow is smooth, smooth is fast, so it helps to slow the game down mentally,” Olstad said. “Look for a fastball and hit it because [that is] all we train for in the offseason and at practice.”

Moro spoke about the benefits of playing at CHS Field, where the team finished with a 6-3 record,  and how it will help the team in the future.

“Playing at CHS, it will bring in a lot of players,” Moro said. “I enjoy the smaller gaps in centerfield.”

The bright spot for next season also seems to focus on the players in the bullpen and on the bench for Olstad.

“We got some serious depth. We have a lot of younger guys and I think that’ll be good for us,” Olstad said.

Every offseason the team works on their six pillars: enthusiasm, intensity, discipline, communication, loyalty and hustle as a way for the team to achieve their goals.

“The pillars and what we talk about on a daily basis just prepares our guys for when those tough situations come up. It’s a way for us to hold each other accountable too,” head coach Jim Weyandt said.

Moro made it known that he wanted a different end to his senior season next year.

“We gotta make the playoffs. We haven’t made the playoffs in my three years here. You’re always learning what it takes and it’s about mastering the small details,” Moro said.

Olstad’s goal was an even bigger one.

“The goal for the team is always a MIAC championship,” Olstad said.

Moro talked about what he would work on in the offseason to accomplish his goal of making the playoffs.

“Everything. My swing is always changing. I’m going to continue to work on my bunting and arm strength. Speed training and powerlifting will be a focus,” Moro said.

Moro recognized that his speed was his biggest strength. He led the team in runs (39), triples (3), and stolen bases (19), and talked about how he plans to keep using that speed.

“I like to use my speed to my advantage on the basepath, make the opponents work more to get me out,” Moro said.

Leadership was also a major focus for Moro.

“I took on more of a leadership role this year. Just being more vocal on top of leading by example,” Moro said.

With the attention to fine details and focus on leadership for the team, they feel they have the foundation necessary to achieve their goals and reach the postseason next year.