Kayla Springer | Echo
The Taylor baseball team collected three victories against Saint Francis this weekend to give the Trojans a sweep against the conference rival.
According to head coach Kyle Gould, a total team effort fueled the Trojans' successful weekend. Good pitching performances as well as solid trips to the plate led the Trojans to three wins, bringing them to just half a game behind first place in the Crossroads League Conference standings.
"Our offense is explosive, and even though we were playing to the wind all day, it was a matter of time before we would break out and score a lot of runs," Gould said.
Game 3 proved to be the offense's highlight, tying a season-high 20 runs to secure the sweep.
Senior Luke Hunter, whose record is 4-2, got the win on the mound in Game 1, limiting Saint Francis to two runs and striking out seven batters. Junior Tanner Watson led the way at the plate with four of Taylor's seven hits as well as three RBIs. Fellow junior Jared Adkins collected a stolen base and one run for the Trojans in the 5-3 victory.
Adkins said the team was encouraged to see how they handled adversity when they were down by a few runs late in the game.
"Offensively, we adopted the mindset of 'inflicting damage' on the baseball," Adkins said. "This helped us stay aggressive in the box, yet swing at quality pitches."
Taylor collected two more wins, 7-4 and 20-10, respectively, on Saturday.
Senior pitcher Jordan Crabb got the win in the first victory of the day, allowing only two earned runs in his first complete game of the season. Sophomores Austin Mettica and Josh Lane each recorded two hits-which freshman Andrew Kennedy drove in for two runs-and junior Sam Wiese scored twice.
Senior Logan Rodgers snatched the win in the final game of the series, improving to 7-1 on the season. Rodgers limited the Cougars to one hit in three innings and allowed no runs while striking out three batters. Sophomore Nathan Targgart collected five of Taylor's 19 hits in the series closer, ending with a double and five RBIs. Fellow sophomore Wyatt Whitman went 3-5 on the day with a homerun, a double and five RBIs as well. Adkins went 2-3 with a home run, a steal and three runs both scored and driven in.
Kennedy homered as well and crossed the plate three times. Watson doubled twice, scored three times and had two RBIs, while Wiese went 2-4 with a double, two runs and two RBIs.
As the team continues in conference play, their focus remains on themselves rather than their opponents.
"Our main focus needs to be controlling what we can control," Crabb said. "We need to be focused on playing our best baseball regardless of who is in the other dugout. Sticking to our approach at the plate and continuing to pitch well and have great defense to back the pitchers up will put us in a good position."
According to Gould, the team now has a chance to play for a conference championship as the season winds down after an impressive eight-game winning streak. The Trojans will start a series against Huntington tonight under the lights. The nine-inning Game 1 is scheduled for 6 p.m. at Winterholter Field.
"Photograph by Sean Quillen"