Men’s baseball makes comeback after losses

Senior infielder Matt Mikusek competes against Mary Hardin-Baylor on March 26. Photo by Amina Hussain | Mercury Staff.

The men’s baseball team played three games of this year’s American Southwest Conference Tournament this weekend against Concordia University, coming up short in the first two but making a comeback in the third.

The team competed in two ASC series earlier this season where it won one game each series. The ASC Tournament will consist of 15 games to end the season, three of which have already been played against Concordia University. The Comets lost 7-1 and 7-5 in the first two matches played on Friday but defeated Concordia 6-1 on Saturday.

“This season has kind of been up and down,” said head coach Shane Shewmake. “(The freshmen are) playing hard and working hard but sometimes you don’t get the results you want as often as you want.”

Last season, the team had 16 seniors who graduated after the team won the ASC Tournament. The team is currently 9-14 overall.

“Basically, we kind of got off to a slow start in Arizona, but we ended up getting a win,” said junior pitcher Blake DiValerio. “We started off with high hopes and high expectations because we just got off the conference championship, and we didn’t play as we should’ve.”

This season is DiValerio’s first on the baseball team after transferring from Oklahoma Wesley University last fall.

“Being on the team, I’ve learned that patience really is a virtue,” DiValerio said. “Sometimes you realize you’ve done the best you can and you’ve gotten outcompeted or outplayed and there’s nothing you can do about that.”

DiValerio is 2-2 and second for innings this season.

“Going in to the tournament, it will come down to consistency,” DiValerio said. “It’s about who can throw strikes constantly and play better baseball than we have been.”

The Comets faced off against Concordia once earlier this season, where they lost 10-3.

“With Concordia, they’re probably the best competition we’ve faced in the ASC,” DiValerio said.

Shewmake said his goal is to win 10 out of the 15 games the team will play in the tournament.

“The main thing we’re trying to do is getting our guys to relax and play the way they’re capable of playing,” Shewmake said. “We’re at the point where we’re trying to fix the small things and not trying to do too much.”

Shewmake said the team will not change its strategy significantly in the future.

“I’m excited to see what the last half of the season holds for us,” DiValerio said. “I’m excited for us to fulfill what we know we can fulfill.”

On Friday, the Comets will resume the ASC Tournament by playing against the University of the Ozarks.

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