Missouri Western continues to be the most dominant team in the MIAA as they pick up five more wins this week, sweeping both Lincoln University and Northwest Missouri State.
The Griffons’ hitting has been nothing short of amazing this season, and Lincoln found that out first hand Easter weekend. In three games, Western cranked out nine homeruns, 53 hits and 42 runs.
It was just another testament to a great season. The series sweep of Lincoln brought the Griffons’ record to 24-4 overall and 19-1 in the MIAA. After the end of the 17-game win streak, Western was quick to start up another one, as they have won their last six.
Freshman pitcher Kyle Kelly doesn’t pay much attention to the streak part of winning, compared to the focus it takes to get wins against any opponent.
“We maintain focus out of necessity,” Kelly said. “Every team can be dangerous if not taken seriously. We want more for one another, so we stay focused for the guy next to us. During a win streak, we don’t really notice the ‘streak.’ We focus on winning for where we want to be at the end of the year.”
Kelly pitched four innings against Lincoln, allowing four runs and seven hits while recording his second win on the season.
Despite the great start to the season, coach Buzz Verduzco believes the biggest challenges are coming up in the next few weekends.
“Our next month that we have is going to be really tough,” Verduzco said. “It’s going to be Pittsburg State, Lindenwood, Central Missouri and of course Missouri Southern. So those weekends we’re going to start facing everybody’s best, the top portion of the league and we’re going to see what we’re really made of now.”
Three of those teams are ranked in the top four of the MIAA, behind only Missouri Western. Those are the next four weekend series for the Griffons. The last one, against Missouri Southern, will be the last series of the regular season.
In fact, Central Missouri is currently ranked No. 8 in the nation in the same poll that Missouri Western is ranked No. 12 in, according to College Baseball Lineup.
Verduzco has no problem awarding some of this season’s success to Cobb, a player who does most of his work behind the curtain.
“Harrison Cobb is a fifth year senior and we’re going to miss him when he graduates,” Verduzco said. “We’ll take [batting practice] at the beginning of the day, and Harrison Cobb is the first guy to grab a bucket of balls and throw to everybody else. He’s not worried about himself taking batting practice; he’s worried about everybody else getting as much of whatever they need for us to win.”