By Luke Mich
When Saint Vincent enacted the shelter-in-place order back on Thursday, April 29, many sports seasons ended abruptly. While some teams saw their regular season cut short or had to forfeit upcoming playoff games that happened between then and when the order was lifted Wednesday, May 5, the baseball team was one of the few teams to continue place after the shelter-in-place. With no practices during that span, the team quickly had to get adjust to playing games again, as they resumed play Thursday, May 6.
“Our games versus Westminster were postponed when Saint Vincent went into lockdown. We played two games [against them] a week later,” TJ Dailey, a senior finance major who plays outfield, said.
The team split the two games against Westminster and then looked ahead to play the top team in the conference, Washington & Jefferson, for two doubleheaders over the upcoming weekend starting May 8, the last regular season games. This was fairly common during the COVID-abbreviated season, Jordan Sabol, a sophomore business data analytics major who also plays outfield, explained.
“All of our games this season were played against conference opponents in a four-game series,” Sabol said.
While they played the first two games, the two games scheduled for Sunday, May 9 got postponed, then officially cancelled, due to rain. With Saint Vincent tied for fourth after the news of the cancellation, the team went on to play Bethany, the team they were tied with, for the last playoff spot in the four-team postseason. Because of this, the Bearcat squad played Bethany in a win-or-go-home game at home for the last playoff spot. Before the game, Dailey and Sabol discussed what needed to happen to advance and win a spot into the tournament.
“Pitching and defense are essential, regardless of who we are playing. If our pitchers command their pitches and our defense plays well behind them, we will be in a good spot to win,” Dailey said.
“It’s going to come down to how well we hit. Tom Bash is going to pitch us a gem, he’s been great all year. We’re going to need to score runs for him,” Sabol added.
The team went on to earn that last spot, winning 2-0 on Tuesday, May 11. Bash pitched eight shutout innings, striking out seven, and was awarded the win. Dailey got a double and scored from that hit for the team’s second run.
With a rematch against top-seed W&J to kick off the Bearcats’ postseason, the team will rely on a combination of great pitching, effective defense play, and a highly productive offense to have success. But Dailey and Sabol said more is needed to advance far into the postseason, which this year is a double-elimination tournament.
“Playing good fundamental baseball, having confidence in ourselves and having fun. If we do these things, we’ll be successful,” Dailey said.
“We need to play well in all facets of the game and believe we can play with anyone in our conference,” Sabol emphasized. “It’s going to take a full effort to do it, but we have the potential to make a deep run.”
The team plays its first game of the playoffs against W&J on Thursday, May 13. Regardless of that game’s result, their next playoff game takes place on Friday, May 14. If the team advances to the championship game, that game will be played on Saturday, May 15.
Results from games played after May 12 were not available at press time. The online version of this article will be updated to reflect them.