Whitworth alum and baseball coach Dan Ramsay chasing dream, takes Washington State position

For nine years, Dan Ramsay has called Whitworth home. It’s been a familiar place. A comfortable place. And now, it will always hold a special place in his heart as he chases his career aspirations. It was announced on April 21 that Dan Ramsay was resigning as the head baseball coach at Whitworth University after having been the head coach for seven seasons.

Ramsay will be taking a position at Washington State University as the Director of Baseball Operations.

“I think this opportunity is a step in the right direction for me,” Ramsay said. “I know that I have a heart for coaching, and I might even miss it down the road. But this will allow me to see what the operations side of baseball is like, in one of the best college baseball conferences in the country.”

Ramsay has been around the game for a long time, and he said he has always been interested in an executive-type position for an organization.

“It’s always something that’s been in the back of my mind, especially since completing my master’s program (Administrative Leadership) at Whitworth. I’ve been able to do a lot of (operations activities) here, but now it’ll be a chance for me to take the skills that I’ve learned to a higher level,” Ramsay said.

The seeds for landing this position for Ramsay were planted long ago, prior to the first game he ever coached at Whitworth.

“I reached out to every coach in the Pacific Northwest and asked if I could just come and watch practice. That’s what put my name on (Washington State head coach Donnie Marbut’s) radar,” Ramsay said. “He’s offered me volunteer positions every year for the past four or five years, but it’s never been enough to pull me away. But, this position was right. I’ve had two and a half months to pray about it and talk with my wife, and that’s how I know this position is right.”

Ramsay said he has enjoyed his nine years at Whitworth, dearly. Especially the relationships he has made.

“With student athletes, with colleagues, you name it. It’s the same answer for what I say draws me to Whitworth. This is really, truly a special place, and I will dearly miss it,” Ramsay said. “I hope to take a part of Whitworth with me. Everywhere I go, I try to take this place on my back and do it proud.”

Ramsay transferred to Whitworth at the start of the 2006-2007 school year, his junior year, from Gonzaga University. He hoped to get more playing time than he had in his first two years as a collegiate athlete. He was able to accomplish that, playing in 75 games in his two-year Whitworth career, amassing a .296 batting average with five home runs and 55 RBIs. Ramsay led the team in RBIs both years he was on the team.

After his senior season, the head coaching position for the Whitworth position was open, and Ramsay took advantage by applying for the position.

“When I applied for the position here, I didn’t expect to get it,” Ramsay said.

But it was his courage to put himself out there that helped lead to his first job: the head coaching position for the Whitworth baseball team.

During his tenure at Whitworth these past seven years, Ramsay has been a part of a team that has done a little bit of everything. All of the hard work and grinding that was done in the early years of his coaching career built up to a 20-win season in 2011- the first for Whitworth in nine years.

The following year, the program continued to grow and had the best season to date. The Pirates, under Ramsay’s guidance, won their first Northwest Conference title in 21 years. They also made their first NCAA Division III World Series appearance in the history of the program.

After a successful career at Whitworth, Ramsay will continue on, with his next stop in Pullman, as he chases his dream to be an executive in the professional baseball industry.

 

John Ekberg

Staff Writer

Pirates sweep Willamette on Senior Weekend, earn Conference Playoff spot

Whitworth celebrated ten seniors on their club and did so in  winning fashion by wrapping up the regular season with a three-game sweep of the Willamette Bearcats. In the process, the Pirates clinched a berth in the inaugural Northwest Conference baseball playoff tournament, which will be hosted by Pacific Lutheran this weekend. Whitworth senior Dan Scheibe got the ball rolling on Saturday, fanning nine Willamette batters in just over six innings of work, while allowing only two runs to score. Scheibe now has 295 career strikeouts in his Whitworth career.

The Pirates got solid relief efforts from freshman T.J. Orchard and senior Carson Blumenthal en route to winning the first game of the day on Saturday, 5-3.

Whitworth’s offense in the game came from a two-run double by senior Thomas Wakem in the second inning, solo home runs by senior Nick Motsinger and senior Josh Davis in the fourth and seventh innings, respectively, and an RBI single from junior Skyler Lookabill in the seventh inning.

It was after that first victory that the Pirates had clinched their berth into the Northwest Conference playoffs.

The game of the weekend – from a purist baseball viewer’s perspective – was the second game of the Saturday doubleheader. Whitworth mounted a three-run ninth inning comeback, all sparked by a pinch hitter.

Whitworth senior Spencer Ansett was roughed up a bit, allowing seven runs in six and two-thirds innings of work. However, the Pirates were able to stay close with the Bearcats, entering the ninth inning down by a pair of runs with the middle of the order coming up.

After senior Josh Davis and sophomore Matt Nelson singled to start the inning, Whitworth coach Dan Ramsay sent freshman Brett Moser to pinch-run for Nelson, and Lookabill to the plate to pinch hit. With those substitutions, Whitworth would have had some players play out of position on defense if the game went into extra innings.

“To be honest, I hadn’t thought that far ahead,” Ramsay said. “There’s something special about (Lookabill), I knew he’d pull through for us.”

Lookabill was attempting to sacrifice the runners into scoring position with a bunt. After the second strike on him, Willamette’s catcher Jacob Parra tried to pick-off Davis from second base. The ball was thrown away, and the Pirates runners moved into scoring position.

“I wasn’t really thinking, which is probably a good thing. If I was thinking anything, it was just that I was grateful to get a second chance,” Lookabill said.

On the 0-2 pitch, Lookabill shot a grounder through the middle of the infield to drive in the two runs to tie the game at seven. The Pirates were then able to sacrifice Lookabill to third base. Willamette elected to intentionally walk a pair of Pirate players to load the bases, so there were force outs at every base.

With two outs, senior Nick Motsinger came to the plate with the bases loaded. Motsinger waited out the Bearcats pitcher and earned a walk, which forced in Lookabill for the game-winning run.

After those two big wins on Saturday, the Pirates returned to the field Sunday for Senior Day, where they honored the team’s ten senior players. Before the game, the team got a surprise when faculty advisor Eric Sartell showed up at Merkel Field. Sartell had been teaching abroad in the British Isles for the past month.

“I took a red-eye flight to get back yesterday. There was no way I was going to miss Senior Day,” Sartell said.

After a ceremony honoring the seniors before the game, the Pirates came out on fire, scoring four runs in the first inning of the game. Senior Cory Mack lasted seven innings for the Pirates on the mound, allowing four runs (two earned).

“I felt really good today,” Mack said. “Other than the home run – which I’m impressed with how (Willamette senior Tiras Koon) was able to take a slider that was at his feet and put it over the wall – today was a great day.”

After Mack exited the game, Coach Ramsay handed the ball to senior Nick Scourey for the final two innings. “It was surreal. I’ve been struggling lately, and to be able to come out and pound the zone like that was good for me, especially with it being my last time here at Merkel Field,” Scourey said.

The Pirates closed out the game with a win 11-4, completing their fourth conference sweep of the season. Whitworth finished the season with a 25-13 record overall, 16-8 in the Northwest Conference. Whitworth will travel to Pacific Lutheran on Friday for the Northwest Conference tournament and will take on Linfield in the first round.

 

John Ekberg

Staff Writer

Baseball closes in on playoff berth with series win

With only two weekends remaining in the conference schedule, the Pirates traveled to Forest Grove, Oregon to take on the Pacific Boxers for a three-game series. The Bucs came away with a sweep of the Saturday doubleheader before falling to the Boxers in the final game of the series on Sunday afternoon. Whitworth got a pair of incredible starts on Saturday from seniors Dan Scheibe and Spencer Ansett. Scheibe started the first game and dominated the Boxers, racking up 11 strikeouts over six innings of work.

“I got my changeup working well, which is exciting. I felt dominant out there and it was easy to set the tone when the guys put up three runs in the top of the first inning,” Scheibe said.

Those three runs were all the Pirates would need to take the first game on Saturday, as the Pirates pitching staff held Pacific to a single run. Pirate junior Jeremy Druffel doubled down the right field line in the first inning to drive in two runs. Druffel then came around to score on a single from senior Thomas Wakem.

The Pirates got another dominating performance from their starter in the second game on Saturday afternoon: Spencer Ansett.

Ansett earned his fourth win on the season after notching seven strikeouts through eight innings of dominance. He allowed only two runs in those eight innings, with only one being an earned run.

Alongside the pitching dominance from Ansett, the Pirates’ bats emerged in this game, as evidenced by a seven-run fourth inning that put the game out of reach. Five different Pirates’ batters earned RBI’s in the inning, with a pair coming on a double from senior Paul Miller, and another pair being brought around on a home run from senior Josh Davis, his ninth on the season. Davis leads the Pirates in homers and is second in the Northwest Conference.

On Sunday, the Pirates sent senior Cory Mack to the mound for the start and he turned in another solid performance. Mack struck out 12 Pacific batters in seven and two-thirds innings while allowing three runs on eight hits.

However, the Pirates offense was only able to muster a pair of runs on the day, as the Pirates dropped the third game of the series 4-2.

“Our arms have really set the tone for us,” Bucs’ coach Dan Ramsay said. “We couldn’t have asked for better performances out of Scheibe, Ansett and Mack this weekend.”

The Pirates fell just short of recording their fourth conference sweep on the season. “Obviously a bit disappointing to not get the sweep, as it would have clinched a playoff spot for us and also built some momentum heading into the final weekend,” Ansett said.

Whitworth sits in third place in the Northwest Conference with only one weekend of games left on the schedule. The Bucs trail first-place Pacific Lutheran by two games and second-place Linfield by one game.

Whitworth, with a 13-8 conference record, controls its own destiny for getting into the conference post-season tournament. If Whitworth wins one of the three games next weekend against Willamette, it will clinch a spot in the postseason tournament.

“We need to focus on one game at a time,” Ramsay said. “We will need to execute offensively and continue to pitch and play defense the way we have in order for that to become a reality.”

The Pirates and Boxers played a fourth, non-conference game on Sunday afternoon after the completion of the three-game conference set. The Boxers came away with the victory in the fourth game 6-5.

 

John Ekberg

Staff Writer

Baseball closes out weekend with victory

Whitworth hit the road last weekend to Parkland, Washington for a three-game set with conference opponent Pacific Lutheran. The Bucs lost both games of the doubleheader on Friday before rebounding with a beat-down of the Lutes on Saturday afternoon. On Thursday morning, the games were moved up to Friday and Saturday to avoid a rainy forecast for later in the weekend.

Coming into the weekend, the Lutes were ranked 19th overall, according to d3baseball.com’s rankings with a 12-5 record. The Pirates entered the weekend with a 10-6 record, having taken two of three games in both of their conference matchups the past two weekends.

The story for Whitworth to this point in the season has been the offense and its ability to put runs on the scoreboard, averaging just shy of nine runs per game. Last weekend against the Lutes, the Pirates put up a total of 12 runs in three games—including a game in which they were shut out.

In the Friday doubleheader, the Pirates managed to scratch across two runs in the first game—losing that game 4-2—and none in the second game—losing 2-0.

“Our defense kept us in both games, but our inability to capitalize and put up runs sealed our fate in those two losses,” senior infielder Nick Motsinger said.

The scoring drought appeared to be short-lived as the Bucs bounced back on Saturday for the final game of the series with 10 runs, propelling the Bucs to a 10-4 victory. Whitworth knocked the ball around the park on Saturday with 13 hits, five of which were doubles. Junior Jeremy Druffel clubbed a home run in the game: a two-run shot in the top of the first inning after the leadoff hitter, sophomore Dalton Carter, reached base on a walk.

Whitworth senior Cory Mack had his best outing of the season on the mound in the Saturday game, going for six and two-thirds innings while allowing four runs—only one of which was earned—and recording seven strikeouts.

“It’s nice to get back to old form. I’ve struggled this year so far, but I worked on my mechanics this week and it paid off for me this weekend,” Mack said.

The Whitworth pitching staff held the Lutes to only 10 runs over the course of the weekend, and only seven of those were earned runs. Especially strong for Whitworth were the efforts they received in relief.

Senior Tyler VonDracek pitched two and a third innings of relief in the first game of the weekend and didn’t allow a single hit or run. In the second game of the Friday doubleheader, senior Nick Scourey came on in relief and allowed only one run and three hits in three and two-thirds innings of work.

In the final game of the weekend, senior Carson Blumenthal earned his third save of the season after going two and one-third innings of no-hit baseball, racking up four strikeouts as well.

“We all threw really well this weekend. We haven’t thrown to our potential this year, but after this weekend I think we are on the right path,” Mack said.

The Pirates return to Merkel Field on Saturday and Sunday for a three-game set against the University of Puget Sound, with the first game set to start at noon on Saturday.

 

John Ekberg

Staff Writer

Baseball wins two of three to take George Fox series

Led by standout pitching performances from seniors Dan Scheibe and Spencer Ansett, the Whitworth Pirates took two of three games from George Fox over the weekend at Merkel Field. In the front end of the Saturday doubleheader, Scheibe went eight innings, allowing a lone run on a solo home run in the second inning to Bruins first-baseman Jacob Woehler.

“I got behind in the count and just put a fastball over the plate and he took advantage,” Scheibe said.

Scheibe recorded six strikeouts in the outing while allowing only five hits. Bucs’ senior pitcher Carson Blumenthal came into the game in the ninth inning and shut down the Bruins in order to record the save. The Pirates came away with the victory in the first game with a final score of 2-1.

The second game of the Saturday doubleheader started out with the Pirates taking an early lead thanks to a Josh Davis solo home run in the bottom of the first inning. However, the Bruins would respond in a big way, putting eight runs on the board in the third inning, followed by four more runs in the fourth inning.

One thing head coach Dan Ramsay took out of the second game, however, was the respect shown to the Pirates’ offense by the Bruins.

“Even when they were up by 11 runs, they were still trying to run some offensive plays: sacrifice bunts, steals, stuff like that. That’s respect for our offense,” Ramsay said.

Pirate senior Josh Davis drove in four of the five Whitworth runs in that second game, in which the Bucs fell to the Bruins, 16-5.

With the Sunday game the rubber-match in the three-game series, the Pirates handed the ball to senior Spencer Ansett, and Ansett responded with a gem.

Ansett threw for 8 1/3 innings on Sunday, allowing only one run on seven hits while striking out six Bruins. To make it even better for Ansett, he only needed 88 pitches to get through those 8 1/3. Of those 88 pitches, 62 were thrown for strikes.

Ansett made a habit of getting ahead in the count against the Bruins, throwing a first-pitch strike to 22 of the 32 batters he faced in the game.

“It’s always something you want to do, it keeps batters on their heels and they aren’t able to put aggressive swings on pitches deeper in the count if you’re ahead,” Ansett said.

The Sunday matchup was a pitcher’s duel, with both Ansett and the Bruins starting pitcher, senior Taylor Dunn, dealing for at least eight innings each.

For the second time in the weekend, Josh Davis smashed a first-inning home run. In fact, it looked like an identical shot to the same part of right-field as his home-run on Saturday afternoon.

“I had a 3-0 count, so I knew he was going to have to get a fastball over the plate or I wasn’t swinging. As you could tell, I got the pitch I was looking for,” Davis said.

After the Bruins scratched a run across in the third inning, the teams stayed knotted up at one until the ninth inning. Ansett got in a bit of a jam after getting the first out of the inning, giving up back-to-back singles.

Pirate senior Carson Blumenthal entered the game and induced an inning-ending double play. “I was just thinking, in that situation we needed to keep the baserunners from advancing. So, I either needed to get the strikeout, or preferably, a double-play ball. Thankfully I got the grounder and we got out of the inning,” Blumenthal said.

In the bottom of the ninth, the Pirates loaded the bases for freshman Joel Condreay with no outs. Condreay chopped the ball towards third base, and Davis broke for home. The Bruins third-baseman, Riley McKean, charged and fired the ball home, but it went over the head of catcher Ansel Webster, allowing Davis to score the game-winning run, arms stretched high to the air as he crossed the plate.

“It’s those close games that really get your heart going,” Ramsay said.

The Pirates took the final game of the series 2-1, giving them a series win as well after taking two of three games from the Bruins. Next weekend, the Pirates travel to Parkland, Washington to take on Pacific Lutheran.

 

John Ekberg

Staff Writer

 

Baseball comes out swinging, sets game record

Whitworth’s baseball team opened up conference play with a bang. Rather, they came out swinging. And swinging. And swinging some more. The Pirates took both ends of the Saturday doubleheader from Whitman, but failed to complete the sweep by losing the final game on Sunday afternoon. Coming off a weekend where the Pirates put up 47 runs in four games in Kerrville, Texas, Whitworth continued its scoring ways against Northwest Conference opponent Whitman College in a big way.

In the front-end of a Saturday doubleheader, Whitworth senior Dan Scheibe stole the show from the pitcher’s mound, notching 10 strikeouts in seven innings of work while allowing a single run, on a solo home run, on five hits.

Senior Carson Blumenthal relieved Scheibe after seven innings, but continued the dominating performance, striking out three Missionaries while not allowing a hit over the final two innings.

The Pirates’ took the first game from the Missionaries, 8-1.

“The offense’s job is easier when you have a guy competing on the mound,” freshman infielder Joel Condreay said.

As nice as it is for an offense to compete when a pitcher is dominating on the mound, it is just as simple for a pitcher to compete when your offense is dominating at the plate. That’s exactly what happened in the back-end of the doubleheader on Saturday afternoon, and it was led by Condreay.

Not 5. Not 10. Not 20. Whitworth tallied 29 runs in this baseball game, a Whitworth Pirates baseball all-time record. The Pirates racked up 11 extra-base hits in the game, 10 of which were of the two-bag variety. Three of those doubles belonged to Condreay, who finished the game 6-6 (with a walk as well) with 5 RBIs.

Whitworth finished the game 31-for-55 at the dish, a scorching .564 batting average. The game ended with the Pirates winning 29-6.

“The most impressive thing was that every time our defense allowed a few runs, our line-up punched back twice as hard,” senior pitcher Nick Scourey, the starting pitcher in the second game, said.

Whitworth committed four errors in the first two innings with Scourey on the mound, yet only allowed a pair of runs in those innings.

“Our defense could have been better. Today was a step in the right direction, but as a whole, we aren’t where we need to be yet,” Condreay said.

The Pirates were unable to come away with the sweep, falling to the Missionaries 5-2 in the final game of the three-game set on Sunday afternoon. “We let one slip today, but learned a lot of valuable lessons,” senior pitcher Cory Mack said.

“It says something about the expectations for our program when you take two of three games in a weekend, and you’re left wanting more,” head coach Dan Ramsay said. “Even if we win every game, and don’t allow any runs the entire weekend, we’re always going to find something we can improve on.”

Whitworth heads to Ellensburg, Washington for a double-header against Central Washington on Wednesday this week before hosting George Fox at Merkel Field for the first home Northwest Conference games of the season this weekend.

 

John Ekberg

Staff Writer

Baseball closes out weekend with victory

Whitworth hit the road last weekend to Parkland, Washington for a three-game set with conference opponent Pacific Lutheran. The Bucs lost both games of the doubleheader on Friday before rebounding with a beat-down of the Lutes on Saturday afternoon. On Thursday morning, the games were moved up to Friday and Saturday to avoid a rainy forecast for later in the weekend.

Coming into the weekend, the Lutes were ranked 19th overall, according to d3baseball.com’s rankings with a 12-5 record. The Pirates entered the weekend with a 10-6 record, having taken two of three games in both of their conference matchups the past two weekends.

The story for Whitworth to this point in the season has been the offense and its ability to put runs on the scoreboard, averaging just shy of nine runs per game. Last weekend against the Lutes, the Pirates put up a total of 12 runs in three games—including a game in which they were shut out.

In the Friday doubleheader, the Pirates managed to scratch across two runs in the first game—losing that game 4-2—and none in the second game—losing 2-0.

“Our defense kept us in both games, but our inability to capitalize and put up runs sealed our fate in those two losses,” senior infielder Nick Motsinger said.

The scoring drought appeared to be short-lived as the Bucs bounced back on Saturday for the final game of the series with 10 runs, propelling the Bucs to a 10-4 victory. Whitworth knocked the ball around the park on Saturday with 13 hits, five of which were doubles. Junior Jeremy Druffel clubbed a home run in the game: a two-run shot in the top of the first inning after the leadoff hitter, sophomore Dalton Carter, reached base on a walk.

Whitworth senior Cory Mack had his best outing of the season on the mound in the Saturday game, going for six and two-thirds innings while allowing four runs—only one of which was earned—and recording seven strikeouts.

“It’s nice to get back to old form. I’ve struggled this year so far, but I worked on my mechanics this week and it paid off for me this weekend,” Mack said.

The Whitworth pitching staff held the Lutes to only 10 runs over the course of the weekend, and only seven of those were earned runs. Especially strong for Whitworth were the efforts they received in relief.

Senior Tyler VonDracek pitched two and a third innings of relief in the first game of the weekend and didn’t allow a single hit or run. In the second game of the Friday doubleheader, senior Nick Scourey came on in relief and allowed only one run and three hits in three and two-thirds innings of work.

In the final game of the weekend, senior Carson Blumenthal earned his third save of the season after going two and one-third innings of no-hit baseball, racking up four strikeouts as well.

“We all threw really well this weekend. We haven’t thrown to our potential this year, but after this weekend I think we are on the right path,” Mack said.

The Pirates return to Merkel Field on Saturday and Sunday for a three-game set against the University of Puget Sound, with the first game set to start at noon on Saturday.

 

John Ekberg

Staff Writer