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Panther Spotlight: Play Ball!
Panther Spotlight: Baseball

While some nature enthusiasts were over the moon about the much-needed rain in recent weeks, the SD baseball team hoped it would come at a different time. 

Their schedule has been turned upside down because of it, forcing them to modify practices and reschedule games due to unplayable conditions. They adjusted by going indoors at times, working on their bunts, and fielding grounders. Other days, they just braved and embraced the conditions, jumping into the batting cage during the pouring rain.

Their hard work and patience paid off as they finally played their first game of the season last Saturday against Urban, beating them convincingly 11-1 in five innings. Ozzie S. ’23 threw three scoreless innings while going 1-for-1 with a single and a pair of walks. Alec C. ’23 was 1-for-2 with the game's biggest hit, a double to the wall. Gytis G. ’23 went 2-for-2 with a pair of RBIs, and Will R. ’25 went 2-for-3 with three RBIs and two runs scored. “It felt unbelievably rewarding,” said Matilda H ’26. “The postponement of our first games only hyped the team up more for the season, and taking the W on Saturday was the best way to start off an exciting, competitive season.”

Head coach Justin Hawkins was encouraged by Saturday’s performance and spoke to us candidly about this year's team. “We have more depth and experience than last year's team,” he said. “We expect more players to contribute and play bigger roles on and off the field. I'm excited to integrate our two new transfers, Aiden C. ’23 and Oliver B. ’25, who will add incredible depth to the pitching staff and lineup. They are both hard workers, and I like that Aiden C. ’23 is hands-on and helping others around him get better every day.” 

Last season, the baseball team competed in the BCL West for the first time, finishing in fourth place. They followed that up by making a deep run into the Div VI NCS Playoffs, losing in the semifinals and coming up just one step short of competing in NorCals. Despite that tremendous season, the team is striving for more. “We want to compete for league championships year in and year out,” says captain Ozzie S.

“We're going to achieve that level of success by continuing to create and establish the ideal environment for players to learn and grow, regardless of their baseball aspirations,” says Coach Hawkins. “Take Ozzie, for example. He's a three-sport athlete at SD, and baseball is not his primary sport. However, he's an exemplary leader. He's always upbeat and has a positive impact on his teammates. No situation seems to bother him. His ability to bounce back from mistakes shows everyone that it's okay to fail, and the rest of the team follows suit. That's the leadership quality we highlight and want all our ballplayers to develop. We want them to lean into the work.”

The team is anticipating a busy schedule as they continue making up rescheduled games. Check out the upcoming schedule and come support the team. It's sure to be an afternoon well spent!