Rookies shine in the sunshine state

As the Albion College Baseball team headed to Winter Haven, Fla., for our spring baseball trip, we were looking forward to seeing our hard work indoors pay off out of doors. Our goals were to win games, gain experience and prepare for the MIAA league play.

Many first-year Britons got their first collegiate hits against Aurora University, including John Gignac, Grand Rapids first-year; Chad Grome, Lansing first-year; and Chuck DeClarke, Lansing first-year.

We ended up on the losing end of this nine-inning game, but we looked forward to an evening doubleheader against Mount Union College.

We split our doubleheader against Mount Union College, losing the first game and winning the nightcap.

With a win under our belts, Albion set our sights on Colby Sawyer College.

The winning run was scored with a bases loaded walk to Ryan Reilly, Battle Creek senior. Brett Devereaux, Jackson senior, recorded the win with an excellent pitching performance through the last three and one-third innings.

The Britons finished the first half of our spring trip with a 2-2 record and enjoyed a well deserved day off on Tuesday.

We shook up our lineup Wednesday by starting two infielders and a pitcher in the outfield. Albion rallied to take the lead by two heading to the bottom of the ninth.

Unfortunately, we were unable to hold onto their lead. Pitcher, Dan Zech, Rochester junior, and catcher, Matt Ankenbrandt, Grandville first-year, recorded their first collegiate base hits.

Andrew Fileccia, Frasier first-year made his collegiate debut and pitched two innings of relief.

Mount Saint Joseph had the Britons’ number Thursday as they took both games of a morning and afternoon doubleheader.

The first game was close through five innings, and then Mount Saint Joseph pulled away. DeClarke collected four hits between both games, but we were unable to match St. Joe’s offense.

The game versus Emerson College was all tied up until Craig Hitchcock, Davison senior, hit a game winning single with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth.

Devereaux got the win for us, coming in with one out in the top of the ninth.

We ended the trip with a nine-inning game against Transylvania College. Albion jumped on Transylvania’s first pitcher, scoring eight runs off of him. Gignac and Kyle O’Keefe, Ypsilanti senior, had their first and second homeruns of the year, respectively.

We ended their trip with a 3-6 record.

The Britons were competitive every game, and many rookies got the opportunity to show head coach Scott Carden their skills in hopes to give him a better idea of our starters for conference play.

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