Northwest baseball seemed lifeless when it competed on home turf for the first time March 26.
Since Northwest has won six of its last seven games. The Bearcats swept series against Fort Hays State and Washburn before falling to Pittsburg State 3-2 at T-Bones Ballpark in Kansas City, Kansas April 9.
The seven games are helping Northwest reflect on last year’s MIAA championship team as they battled two of the lower level MIAA teams (Washburn and Fort Hays).
“After playing 25 straight on the road, it was nice to be able to get some home games in, being able to play in front of our hometown fans really helped the team take a step in the right direction,” sophomore starting pitcher Max Spitzmiller said. “Everyone is backing up one another and playing for the person next to them.”
A large part of the recent string of success that the Bearcats have garnished is from the offensive side of the plate. Northwest has plated seven or more runs in its last six wins.
“When the offense is scoring runs, it makes life as a pitcher better. Our offense has been awesome this year and have been swinging well,” Spitzmiller said. “It is great seeing guys succeed, and if they don't, the people behind them pick ‘em up. It's really great to have our hitters rolling.”
When the year began the Bearcats opened up the season with struggles from the mound and they have continued to this point. Northwest sits at 10th in the MIAA for team ERA with 6.48.
Even with an abysmal ERA, the bright spots from the Bearcat starting pitching comes and goes as it sees fit. In the latest series, Spitzmiller showcased his potential with 7 1/3 scoreless innings in the Game 1 victory against Fort Hays State (9-2).
“The last three outings, he’s been solid on the mound; all three guys have had good weekends,” coach Darin Loe said. “Max definitely got us started off in the right direction on that Friday, being able to save some bullpen since he’s been going deep into games.”
Next up for the Bearcats is a trip to St. Joseph to take on Missouri Western April 12-14. The Griffons handed Northwest its lone loss of the regular season.
“Coming back home definitely got us on the right track, and then on top of that to win, our last six put ourselves in a good situation for the rest of the conference,” Loe said. “The biggest thing is just playing better baseball. The first half of the season we were a little off on all phases, and hopefully, now we are clicking and continue to improve on our weaknesses.”