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

 

Men's tennis loses two more on road

The men’s tennis team lost both their matches on their trip to Oregon where they competed against Pacific University on Saturday and George Fox University on Sunday. Whitworth fell by a final score of 8-1 against Pacific in Forest Grove, Oregon.

“I think what happened is that we couldn’t break through at really big times,”  coach Mike Shanks said. “We played a little bit ‘not to lose’ opposed to aggressive at times.”

The Pirates lost all their doubles matches, and lost all but one singles game, as senior Matt Goebel won in a tiebreaker. However, the score was not as one-sided as the box score made it appear.

Junior Blake Miller and sophomore Shane Sandlin both had extremely close losses in three sets in their respective singles matches, while senior Chris Engelmann and junior Drew Adams lost their doubles match 9-7.

“We played hard today as a team, so we need to work on playing with the same intensity, but also hitting big shots at big times,” Engelmann said.

The Pirates are a team that Shanks said without a doubt has great potential. They need to keep working on playing with the correct mindset and that if the team starts playing with more confidence they are going to start winning much more, Shanks said.

Goebel was one player that reflected that potential, winning his singles match and losing 8-5 in his doubles match.

“I have to say that Matt Goebel was the standout performer of the day,” Shanks said.

On Sunday, Whitworth fell in a heartbreaker to George Fox 5-4 in Newberg, Oregon. The stakes were especially high for this matchup, as the two teams only meet once this season, unlike most other matches where the scores are aggregated from the two home and away competitions.

“It’s frustrating to lose 5-4, but it is such an improvement from the way we played against them last year,” Sandlin said.

The final results literally came down to a few points, which left players such as Sandlin feeling disappointed. However, the players and coaches saw major positives to take away from the team’s performance.

Junior Drew Brigham and Sandlin won their doubles match 9-8, and their respective singles matches. Adams also came up with a blowout win in two sets in his singles match.

The team improved greatly from their average performance against Pacific, with a much better effort on Sunday.

“I don’t know what happened last night, but something happened and today we came out to play,” Brigham said.

The team recognizes its progress as the matches go by, and they are staying focused on being positive and working on their game every day, Brigham said. Matches like these are reflecting the results.

“We’ve never come that close to beating George Fox,” Brigham said. “That is proof we can be a contender this year in conference.”

 

Kyle Cacoyannis

Staff Writer

Volleyball takes two wins on Homecoming stretch

During Homecoming last weekend, the volleyball team defeated both George Fox and Lewis & Clark at home. In the past, the Pirates have tended to split wins on Homecoming weekend, but this weekend marked the first Homecoming since 2011 in which the volleyball team earned two wins at home. The women now stand second in the Northwest Conference, holding six wins and two losses in conference play. On Friday night, the women shut down George Fox in three games. In the first set, the Bruins managed to stay two points behind Whitworth until the Pirates strung together an 11-4 run. Junior Shawna Korshavn led the team with four kills. The teams exchanged kills in the last minutes of the match, but the Bruin hitters could not overcome the Pirates’ six-point lead. Freshman Cassy Mendoza finished the match with a final kill.

During the second game, Whitworth started off strong with a 9-0 run. Sophomore Brenna Bruil dominated on defense with six successful attacks. Although George Fox attempted to make a comeback to 24-17 near the end of the game, their service error led to another Pirate win.

“Our intensity was a really strong point. The other team did a really good job tipping, but I also felt that we were in control the whole game,” Leonard said.

The Bruins fought back in the third set, gaining a two-point lead before the Pirates moved ahead with a 5-2 run due to several Bruin errors. Bruil finished the match with her twelfth kill of the night. Junior Nicole Leonard led the team with 18 digs while junior Mallorie Schoesler followed closely behind with 14 digs.

On Saturday night, Lewis & Clark challenged the Pirate defense with 14 kills in the first set. The Pioneers took a five-point lead early on while Whitworth struggled to overcome attack errors. The Pirates climbed back up to 22-24 but the Pioneers prevailed with a kill.

The Pirates came back in the second set, improving their hitting percentage from .044 to .105. Freshman outside hitter Cassandra Mendoza made four kills in the first ten points, as each team struggled to gain a lead. The teams tied at 19-19 but Whitworth won on a 6-3 run. In the third set, the Pirates shut out Pioneer attacks with four blocks. The Pirates won on Mendoza’s service ace.

“This weekend we were focusing on playing like we have something to prove because we’re second in the conference right now,” Schoesler said. “Tonight, our blocking improved. We really focused on that in practice. Getting more touches on the blocks really helped us with our defense.”

During the fourth set, Lewis & Clark gained a narrow lead until Leonard and junior Shawna Korshavn made a combined three kills to take the lead. Mendoza made five successful kills after that, while Leonard wrapped up the Pirate win with her sixteenth kill of the night.

“We knew that Lewis & Clark was going to match up well with us well defensively and so we were going to have to earn our points. I think we were prepared for that battle tonight,” Head Coach Kati Bodecker said.

Overall, the Pirates out-blocked the Pioneers 10 to six—their highest number of blocks this season. They will play Pacific Lutheran at home on Friday night.

 

Leah Dassler

Staff Writer

Men's soccer keeps undefeated streak alive on road

Senior Micheal Ramos’ four assists and three unassisted goals to tie two school records highlighted the Pirates’ 7-1 victory against the Bruins last Saturday, while the Pirates finished the weekend with a 4-1 win against the Boxers. Traveling on the road, scoring three goals early on in the game against George Fox gave Whitworth an edge.

The Pirates played how they wanted to play by reaching out to their forwards and distributing the ball, junior David Starkovich said.

The Bucs scored in the 14th minute of the game with an unassisted goal by Ramos, setting the game’s tone. Less than 30 seconds later, another cross ball assisted by Ramos to junior Karl Muelheims was scored.

“We were going at their defense,” Muelheims said. “Ramos was on the left side of the field and he played the ball to the back post, and I kicked it with my right foot.”

The Pirates’ third goal came in the 28th minute off of Ramos’ penalty kick. The fourth goal occurred in the 57th minute when Ramos assisted sophomore Rylan Berriman.

“[Ramos]’s distribution was really good. He moved the field quite a bit [and] switched the balls a lot,” Muelheims said. “He sets up other players to succeed.”

The early scores caused the Pirates to lose focus, which allowed the Bruins to score in the 75th minute, Starkovich said.

“Everybody needed to stay focused,” Muelheims said. “We dropped off because we were up 3 or 4 and we were satisfied about how the game was going rather than think about what to take more from this team.”

The other three goals came within a 10-minute period with two goals assisted by Ramos and scored by Berriman and junior Sam Engle. The final goal came from Ramos on a one-on-one with the Bruins’ goalie.

Ramos ended up tying the school record for points in a game with 10, while tying the school record for assists in a game with four.

Hannah Walker | Graphic Artist

The game on Sunday proved to be just as lopsided.

Whitworth took the lead on the 23rd minute when Muelheims had an unassisted goal off a crossbar rebound after a shot by Ramos. However, 14 minutes later, junior Samual Jarrett took the ball himself from 10 yards out from the net and kicked it to the lower left corner, putting the Pirates up two.

“We decided to limit their ability to play through the back by high pressing their defense,” Muelheims said. “This forced them to kick it long, where Sam Engle had a height advantage in the midfield. All we had to do was win the second ball and attack their defense.”

Pacific scored their only goal in the 55th minute in the second half. However, to secure the lead, Muelheims gave another point to Whitworth with less than 10 minutes off an assist by Berriman.

Bringing the game to a close, Ramos scored the Pirates’ fourth and last goal by freshman Eric Espinoza’s assist.

“[Ramos] grows every time he’s on the field and brings everybody into the game,” Head Coach Morgan Cathey said. “He showed a lot more desire to put the ball in the back and that purpose was noticeable this weekend.”

The Pirates improved to 8-0-1 overall and 3-0-1 in the NWC.

Whitworth begins a stretch of home games this weekend by hosting Pacific Lutheran on Saturday at 2:30 p.m.

 

Jessica Razanadrakoto

Staff Writer