Baseball splits recent weekend doubleheader against Lynchburg

After a string of losses over the past two weeks, the Generals began to turn the tide this weekend in a doubleheader against Lynchburg


Tanner Smith, Sports Writer

Mother Nature and Madame Fortune have not been kind to the Generals baseball team in recent weeks. And players are now headed into a crucial stretch of six games in seven days after coming off a skid of five consecutive losses.

But the tide may be turning.

The team split its doubleheader against Lynchburg on March 24, losing the first game 4-5 but coming back to win the second game 5-2.

The Washington and Lee team, with a record of 7-12, has had to fight through both rain and snow in recent weeks. The team has also had two games cancelled, one against Cortland on Feb. 24 and another against Marymount on Mar. 15. In addition, the team had one game postponed twice against Eastern Mennonite.

The inclement weather has not only hindered the team’s game schedule but has also led to an irregular practice schedule.

But team captain David Van Geluwe, ‘18, who has thrown 17.2 innings this year and posted an ERA of 1.02, said the team will use the delays and recent losses as motivation.

“I think everyone is excited,” Van Geluwe said. “The snow has been kind of brutal and has prevented us from getting out there and playing a lot of games. I think everyone realizes that we have a lot of games coming up in a short time period. Everyone is excited to get after it. Everyone knows that this stretch will define our season, so everyone wants to put their best foot forward and grind out games to start seeing some of the W’s [come] our way.”

Two of the team’s most recent games were in a doubleheaer against Virginia Wesleyan on March 17. In the first game of the doubleheader, the Generals came up short, mounting a three-run comeback in the last two innings of the game.

The Generals had runners on first and second, with the tying run on first, with one out in the seventh inning. But the Generals ultimately lost 6-4. The next game was even more difficult, as the Generals carried a 4-1 lead, only to see VWU storm back to win with four runs in the seventh.

Van Geluwe said he is trying to help guide the team through this stretch.

“I am just trying to put everything into perspective for them,” Van Geluwe said. “I have been on teams here that have won the conference in the regular season and other teams that have been near the bottom. So I have kind of seen it all in my time here. In a small sample of our season here we have struggled, but we need to focus on staying positive. I think that once we get past the period when some of the young guys have some nerves, and they are able to go out there and let their talent show, we will see better results.”

Van Geluwe can serve as a model player who was able to overcome his nerves. He went from struggling in 6.2 innings as a freshman to becoming an effective member of the pitching staff from sophomore year on.

Van Geluwe said he remembers a mentality shift that helped him to overcome his struggles.

“I remember going out there sometimes in big situations, and I felt like I wouldn’t have my legs,” he said. “So I am definitely very understanding of where some of the young guys are coming from. It is hard. A lot of it comes from repetitions and growth. But a lot of it also comes from an attitude of realizing that you are good enough to play here.”

Ryan Monson, ‘20, has received a large chunk of time on the field as an outfielder. Even as a young player, Monson has played in all 19 games and is third on the team with 72 at-bats.

Monson said the team’s struggles have little to do with the talent that the team possesses.

“We have had some bad breaks in games and we get down on ourselves too much,” Monson said. “I don’t think we really realize that we have all the talent and all of the pieces that we need.”

Monson said the solution will come from getting back to the team’s guiding principles from the beginning of the season.

“We set a whole bunch of goals at the beginning of the season and put them up big in our locker room, so we know every day what we are trying to do,” Monson said. “A lot of the goals pertain to a mindset or preparation. If something bad happens, you have to go back to your same mindset. You can’t let your mindset change or your preparation change because of something that is throwing you off. If you do, you have lost. Sometimes, you want to just press the gas, but it will come if you stick to your guns.”

The team will next play on March 27 against Bridgewater at home.