With a season that hasn’t followed lofty preseason expectations, the Maroons are looking to end 2014 on a strong note and salvage a thus-far disappointing season.
“It’s been kind of a rough season,” fourth-year pitcher Alex Terry said. “We’re a decent team that has grossly underachieved starting from game one. As a team, we are certainly trying to put these rough games behind us and look ahead to a strong finish. It’s hard to stay positive at times, especially considering our losses are compounded with a lot of injuries.”
While a strong close to the season may be a couple weeks premature, the team did pull together an 8–3 victory over Elmhurst this past Tuesday. For the South Siders, the game was noted by not only an eight-run outburst but also by a solid performance on the mound by third-year pitcher Anthony DeRenzo. In seven innings of impressive work, DeRenzo surrendered only two earned runs, and he had an equally impressive defensive effort behind him that relented only one error in the afternoon.
On the offensive side of things, the Maroons jumped on the Bluejays early as they put together a two-run first inning, bolstered by the efforts of first-year pitcher Thomas Prescott, who contributed an RBI. Later on, the Maroons were able to push their lead to a five-run cushion in the fourth inning, as third-year pitcher Andrew VanWazer and fourth-year outfielders Ricky Troncelliti and Brett Huff all provided RBI singles. For the South Siders, this was enough to close the door on Elmhurst as Chicago finished the day with 14 hits.
Following their convincing victory over Elmhurst on Tuesday, the Maroons looked to carry momentum from that victory into a matchup against North Central at home on Wednesday. However, the stars did not align for the Maroons, as they dropped a disheartening 5–2 matchup to the Cardinals.
Repeating some of the same themes from their game against Elmhurst, the Maroons were able to conjure impressive showings on the mound and field as Terry surrendered only three runs in the afternoon as pitcher while he was backed by a defense that only relented a single error. However, the team couldn’t put together a similar performance at the plate, as they tallied two runs on five hits and let several run-scoring opportunities slip away, including a bases-loaded, one-out situation in the bottom half of the fourth. Unfortunately, the South Siders weren’t able to spark any offense off this opportunity as they eventually finished the evening with five hits, two hits coming from third-year third baseman Kyle Engel, en route to a disappointing 5–2 defeat.
“In terms of game to game, we just have to remain focused on playing one pitch at a time. The problem is, one day our pitching will be bad, and the next day we pitch great, but we can’t hit,” Terry said. “Or maybe one day we put those both together [and] we struggle to make routine plays. It really boils down to us putting all the facets of the game together and playing as a team for nine full innings.”
Looking ahead, the Maroons hope to compose an inspired end to their season, as they head into this weekend with a rematch against North Central looming over their heads on Sunday, as well as a doubleheader against Monmouth on Saturday. Last year, the South Siders routed Monmouth by a staggering score of 22–4, an outcome and performance they surely hope to repeat this year.