MONMOUTH — The Western Oregon University baseball team opened up Great Northwest Athletic Conference play Feb. 29 against Montana State University Billings to officially get the season underway.
A few preseason games in early February saw the Wolves settling in, losing the first two games to Fresno Pacific University, but turning around to win the last two games in that series.
Last year, the Wolves’ dreams of making it to regionals was cut short by a 10-0 shutout loss to Montana State University Billings in the second game of the GNAC Championships.
This year, the team isn’t wasting time setting up big goals.
“I’m looking forward to having a successful season with my teammates, and to do whatever we can to make it to regionals,” said Connor McCord, a senior, and pitcher for the Wolves.
The team dynamic looks a little different this year, with many of last year’s leaders graduated, and newcomers stepping up to the plate, but McCord is looking forward to it.
“With so many new faces, everyone is working to settle into their roles,” said head coach Kellen Walker. “We have some guys that have been in the program for awhile that have stepped up this year to help speed up the learning process for guys just coming into the program.”
One of those guys is McCord. He is excited about the new group of guys he gets to play with.
“I think the group we have this year is special,” McCord said, “and I think once we start playing a bit more we will have even more success and make better friendships in the process.”
With every new season comes a different set of obstacles to overcome.
How the team handles those obstacles is, in McCord’s mind, crucial to the overall outcome of the season.
“Sometimes seasons take weird turns and it can be a roller coaster ride,” he said. “We just need to learn to roll with the punches and keep pushing back and finding ways to win.”
McCord has been with the Wolves since his freshman year — this will be his last season with them, so he’s taking it every game at a time.
“Baseball has a special place in my heart and I don’t know where I would be without it.” he said.
On Saturday, the Wolves split games at Central Washington University, opening the doubleheader with a 3-0 shutout victory.
Sunday, the team faced CWU for another doubleheader, this time opening the day with a 9-1 loss, but coming back to claim a 9-5 win.
The team hosts Concordia Saturday and Sunday for doubleheaders; both days begin at 1 p.m.
The Wolves have eight more home games this season, which include: Concordia, March 14-15; Northwest Nazarene, March 27-28; Saint Martins, April 4-5; and Central Washington, April 18-19.