Not many student-athletes can say they have competed five separate times over a stretch of only 48 hours.
The CSU baseball team will return from the weekend representing the few that can, taking on Williston State College in consecutive double headers Friday and Saturday before ending the five-game tournament on Sunday afternoon.
Team president Colton Duffy paused after being asked about the unyielding weekend on hand for his club. He searched for the right thing to say as if he hadn’t given any thought to the idea.
“It gets hard. There’s not a lot of times we’ve been in the position to play five,” Duffy said. “We will be able to find a way to make it work but that last game may be a ‘Johnny All-Staff’ type game where we have to throw everybody we’ve got out there.”
CSU is running a four-man starting rotation in the bullpen, presenting the need for a pitcher to double up. According to Duffy, there’s no better option than senior pitcher MJ McPeek.
“Being a former quarterback on the football team, obviously he’s got the stamina to throw longer durations than your standard relief pitcher,” Duffy said. “He throws a lot of strikes and gives us a real good opportunity to shut them down.”
The Rams, who play at the club level, are faced with playing more difficult teams in the early season. The first half of their schedule entails matchups with many teams that play in higher divisions, such as Williston State.
“It’s better for us because we get to play these teams and gauge ourselves on that, then when we play the club teams that matter we’re already playing our best baseball,” McPeek said. “To be honest, it makes us better than any club team around.”
Both teams are looking to take advantage of the tougher portions of their schedules.
Located in the northwest corner of North Dakota, Williston experiences temperatures that average in the twenties throughout March, causing them to play on the road until they are able to play home games in mid April.
“It makes it difficult because we have to do a lot of indoor stuff for the first few months. It puts us at a disadvantage but we do the best we can with it, we’re used to it,” Williston State coach Shawn Cote said. “It pays off when we get those out of the way and finish the season with constant home games.”
The Rams and Tetons are both looking to get things rolling, struggling in the early part of the season. CSU is 5-15 going into the weekend, facing a 3-11 Williston State team.
“We know that they are off to a similar start as us, which will make it interesting,” Cote said. “We’re both wanting to get better so it will come down to who is more willing.”
Club Sports Beat Reporter Quentin Sickafoose can be reached at email@example.com.