Eagles baseball flies far during the spring

By Elohino Theodore, Sports Writer

EWU baseball is the longest running club sport at Eastern and currently has a 5-3 record for this season.

The Eastern baseball club is part of the National Club Baseball Association. Along with playing other schools in their division, the team also plays throughout the league. The Eagles are currently in second place in the Northern Pacific-North conference. Eastern is ahead of Montana and Idaho in the standings.

The club currently has 10 new members this year. Senior pitcher Jon Rapose is a new addition who pitched in the NAIA World Series last year. Rapose is joined by fellow senior third baseman, Eric Raynes, senior second baseman Nathan Weber and Freshman pitcher Dan Pitz.

The Eagles started off slow by losing two straight games to Seattle University. They lost the first game 6-4, but lost the second game with a larger deficit of 9-4. “I think that they outplayed us. I don’t think that they were necessarily the better team,” senior outfielder Jeffrey Levine said.

Eastern then moved on to play the University of Idaho where they won three straight games against the Vandals. “We’ve made a ton of improvements from the first weekend to the second weekend,” Club President and coach Cash Ulrich said. “It was good that we stepped up to the plate against Idaho because those are conference games.”

The Eagles won the first game against Idaho 9-3, and during the second game the Eagles beat the Vandals in a close battle, 8-7. The third time around, Eastern won their third consecutive game with a convincing victory, 18-4.

Eastern went on to play the University of Montana on March 29-30 where they went 2-1 in three games. The Eagles lost the first game to the Grizzlies,19-8. Eastern then bounced back in the second game by winning 11-3. The club also won the third game, 7-4.

The team practices every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. On Tuesday and Thursday, the club practices at Cheney Middle school. On Wednesday, they are indoors at the Phase in the field house on Eastern’s campus.

“We’re really focusing on our offensive approach,” Ulrich said. “The last couple of years, the offense has held us back a little bit. Our pitching [is] pretty solid, but if we hit the ball, we’re going to be pretty good this year.”

Aside from team practice, Levine finds ways to improve his performance as an athlete. “I would say being in good physical shape is important for me,” Levine said. “I think that spending extra time in the batting cage pays off in the long run.”

Ulrich explains that the goal for the club this year is to play in the Tampa, Fla., nationals. “The offense is key for us,” Ulrich said. “That’s what’s [going to] help us get to regionals and hopefully Nationals, which is our goal for this year because we got a pretty solid team.”

First baseman Logan Goulet was honored with the National Club Baseball Association player of the week for March 16-22. Goulet helped Eastern get their three consecutive victories over Idaho. He had three home runs and 12 RBIs in conference play.

The club has quite a few experienced players that all have been playing baseball for a long time. The team consists of 15 seniors who are all in their fourth, fifth or sixth years. Two of those seniors are Ulrich and Levine, who both have a substantial amount of baseball experience to bring to the team.

“I’ve been playing baseball since I was probably 4 years old,” Ulrich said. This is Ulrich’s fourth year as a EWU baseball club member and his third year as the president and coach of the club.

“I’ve been playing since I was kid, and I played two years in junior college and then I came [to Eastern],” Levine said. Levine is currently in his second year as a member of the club.

Levine and Ulrich have high hopes for the rest of the season. “I think that we have room to improve and we’re going to improve, and I think that we’re just going to get better as the season goes,” Levine said.

“I think our chemistry is growing every time we’re together,” Ulrich said. “As far as having fun, that comes with winning. When I took over as president, … I wanted to bring … a winning mentality because it hadn’t been around before.”

The team will be competing against Montana State at home on April 5 and 6.