Baseball finishes tough season on high note

The Generals swept Emory & Henry Saturday to end the season


Tanner Smith, Sports Writer

The Generals baseball team may not have seen the results they wanted this season, but they finished the year strong on Senior Day with a doubleheader sweep of Emory & Henry College at Cap’n Dick Smith Field.

Coming off a 28-14 season in 2017, the best record in the ODAC, the team had large internal expectations, with a talented core of players returning.

A combination of losses from the senior class in 2017, such as right-handed pitcher Tom Concklin, 17, catcher Cory Paton, 17, and Ryan Weston, 17, among others, and injuries to key players such as outfielder Kyle Ruedisili, 18, right-handed pitcher Kevin McHugh, 19, and left-handed pitcher Carson McKoon, 20, were big blows to the team and contributed to the Generals falling to a record of 14-23 on the season.

Infielder Austin Crane, 18, was able to take something from the team’s struggles this season that can be applied to the world outside of baseball.

“I learned how to deal with adversity both individually and as a part of a group,” Crane said. “There were many times where we struggled as a team and I was able to learn how to deal with challenges and move past them while still making adjustments and being cognizant of one’s mistakes.”

Despite these struggles, the team did have several high points on the season, such as defeating Emory & Henry on Saturday by scores of 7-4 and 11-8.

Every senior who was healthy enough to play made major contributions. Outfielder Robey Smalley, 18, finished the doubleheader 5-for-8, including a double and a triple. Crane, on the strength of a three-hit game in the 11-8 victory, finished the double-header 3-for-8.

Infielder Paul Diven, 18, had three hits in nine at bats in the Designated Hitter spot Saturday, including a double in game two and three RBIs.

When Crane thought about the high points of the season, two games stuck out to him.

“One of the high points of the season was when we defeated Cortland St. (7-6), who at the time was ranked number one in the country,” he said. “Another high point of the season was when we traveled to Roanoke College, who was ranked eleventh in the country at the time, and beat them in the first game of the doubleheader (8-5).”

Crane continued, “We went down by a couple runs late in the game but rallied back to beat them. This win was especially satisfying because they beat us last year in the ODAC championship game so it was nice to go to their home field and get a win.”

Senior Day brought not just two wins, but a team effort by three senior pitchers.

David Van Geluwe, ‘18, Brian Morgan, ‘18, and Tyler Murphy, ‘18, combined in the first game of the doubleheader to secure the win for the Generals on the mound–the first time the three of them have pitched together to win a game by themselves.

“Being able to finish my career by winning a game with David and Brian was something special,” said Murphy, who finished out the game with two consecutive strikeouts. “I don’t think I’ll ever forget that.”