Baseball seals first ever MIAA title

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Missouri Western groups together just after sweeping the double header against Washburn University to enjoy being the schools first MIAA regular season champions.
Missouri Western groups together just after sweeping the double header against Washburn University to enjoy being the schools first MIAA regular season champions.

The Griffons are the MIAA baseball regular season champions for the first time in history, and improve their record to 34-7.

After sweeping the double header against Washburn University in the last regular season home game, and after the ice cold Gatorade shower, coach Buzz Verduzco told his players they get a steak dinner after this one.

“I’m so proud of you guys,” Verduzco said. “I want you to enjoy every bit of it because you guys deserve it.”

Game one was controlled by Western’s pitcher, Jerad Hawkins, as he only allowed one run on three hits in a complete game to get his sixth win on the season.

“It feels great,” Hawkins said. “We’ve worked hard and accomplished it with our work ethic. There’s no more pressure on us this weekend, we’re just going to keep playing hard and win as many games as we can.”

Hawkins told the coach after pitching Sunday that he was ready for this one.
Game two was where the batting really got back to what they often do. Western run-ruled yet another team and did it with incredible energy. First baseman, Spencer Shockley, ended it with a blasted home run over left field.

“It definitely feels good,” Shockley said. “It feels good to be a part of a great team this year and it’s a huge boost of confidence. It’s really something special to be a part of.”

Shockley’s game winning and MIAA clinching home run was his second homer of the day. He finished the double header with four runs, four hits and four RBI’s.

Seven different Griffons contributed runs in the second win.

Third baseman, Grant Fink, batted a run in on a triple and a double and his hitting a .411 average on the season. Second baseman, Kyle Simpson also had two RBI’s, and scored two runs of his own.

Western pitcher, Mark Spreckels, recorded the win in game two. Spreckels went five innings allowing five hits and one run. Kyle Kelly and Mason Queen finished the last three innings giving up no hits and no runs. Kelly recorded four strikeouts in his two innings.

With a team batting average of .363, the Griffons have the second highest team average in division II. Short Stop, Michael Schulze, is leading the high hitting by batting .436, and has the eleventh highest individual average in the country. The Griffons also have the second most home runs in the country.

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