Game 1 Friday @ Oswald Field
Friday’s home opener started on a somber note as Hesston players and coaches and the campus community remembered 2016 Lark infielder Justin Valazquez with a ceremonial first pitch. Vivian Mora, Justin’s aunt, threw the first pitch to Velazquez’s boyhood and college teammate Jayro Rivera. Velazquez, a freshman on last year’s team, passed away on the baseball field, playing the game he loved in his native Puerto Rico, during the summer of 2016.
Freshman Joel Ogletree (Norwood, Mo.) hit a 2-run double to left field, and Drake Sturgeon (Newton, Kan.) connected on a sacrifice fly as the Larks scored all three of their runs in the bottom of the first inning to defeat the Bethany College Swedes JV 3-0.
Pitcher Jacob Harris, a freshman from El Paso, Texas, got the start for the Larks and recorded the win. Redshirt freshman Carter Hohn (Overland Park, Kan.) came into the game in the 4th inning and picked up the first save of the year, including a quick 1-2-3 top of the 7th to retire the Swedes.
Bethany College took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning. The Swedes tacked on a couple more runs in the top of the third inning before the Larks began to rally. A seven-run fourth inning, all with two outs, saw Hesston College surge in front 7-3. The Larks added an insurance run in the bottom of sixth to win 8-3. Sophomore pitcher Jordan Gesling (Lennox, S.D.) picked up the win for Hesston College.
Game 3 Saturday @ Oswald Field
With Hesston College leading 4-0 after three innings, the Swedes scored five in the 5th inning to pull ahead. The Larks responded with five runs in the bottom half, pushing the lead to 9-5. Bethany added three runs in the 8th to make things interesting, but the Larks prevailed 9-8, securing the series win. Jonathan Law recorded the win and Sam Carillo got a save. Both are sophomores from El Paso, Texas.
Freshman outfielder Jayden Banks (Lawton, Okla.) connected on a clutch home run, the first of his collegiate career, to put the Larks up 8-3 in the bottom of the sixth inning. Hesston tacked on a final run to win 9-3 and complete the four-game sweep of the Swedes JV. It was a solid series for the Larks. Hesston College is back to .500 (5-5) before going back on the road.
“It was great to see contributions from a ton of guys this weekend,” Head Coach Kyle Howell commented. “Our offensive coaches (Spitz, Dawson, Seltzer) really did a great job with our kids this week. Hopefully this momentum will carry forward into a great week in Oklahoma.”
Up Next: Wednesday, February 15, the Larks travel south to take on Northern Oklahoma College-Enid in a two-game set. First pitch from David Allen Memorial Ballpark will be at 1 p.m. Game two against the Jets will start at 3:30 p.m.