(Ft. Myers, FL). The Defiance College Yellow Jackets started off their spring trip in Fort Myers Florida on a high note with 2 game sweep of the Hiram Terriers. The Jackets were led by Junior ace Paris Creek, who threw an incredible game. Creek threw 6 innings, only allowing two hits, and giving up two walks, while striking out 1. The Jackets were not able to get their runs until the top of the 7th inning, which was led by Mike Gilliland with a single, followed by Glen Collier with an RBI double, and Tanner Stippich added another RBI double of his own, giving the Jackets a 2-0 lead going into the bottom of the 7th.
This lead was more than enough, as Will Bohlman came in and shut the door, earning his first save as a Yellow Jacket. Gilliland and Stippich were the only pair of players to have a pair of hits in the first game.
Offense did not come at a short in the second game. The Jackets had multiple big innings, including scoring 4 in the 1st and the second inning, and adding 7 runs in the 4th inning. The Jackets were able to keep Hiram at bay until later in the game, where Hiram was able to put a big inning together in the 7th inning, but Jackets were able to squelch the rally and take the game 16-11.
Sophomore Jon Brown was the winning pitcher, throwing 5 innings, only allowing two runs, and only giving up 3 hits. Zac Brazen, Cody Nelson, and Grant Curevo all threw to help shut the door. Garrett Sierra, Gilliand, Collier, Troy Konwinksi, Nate Kaffenberger, and Jude Neary all had multiple hits, while Collier and Konwinski all had multiple RBI and extra base hits.
We caught up with Junior Micheal Gilliand after the game, and he had this to say, “You know anytime you can start off a stretch of games with a sweep of a DH, it’s a huge tone setter. Our pitchers came out and had very efficient outings and threw a lot of strikes and we played great defense behind them which are two huge keys to winning ball games. We are looking to build off of this and keep the train moving.”
(Fort Myers, Florida) The Jackets continued their spring trip with a double header against Finlandia University Lions. The first game of the two game series was a pitching duel, as junior Troy Konwinski got the nod on the mound, and threw an absolute gem. Konwinski threw all 7 innings, striking out 7, and only gave up 5 hits.
The Jackets lone run of the game came from Tyler Weaver scoring off an RBI single off the bat of Michael Gilliland. The Jackets were not able to put anything else together, even though they had a few other opportunities. The Jackets were able to take the first game with a score of 1-0 and improved to 4-0 on the season.
The second game did not go as well for the Jackets, as they dropped their first game of the season. Freshman Michael Reese got his first collegiate appearance on the mound. The Lions were able to capitalize and score early, putting two runs on the board in the first inning. The Jackets were able to answer back with 1 of their own, but Finlandia stayed hot and scored 5 in the 3rd, and 2 in the 4th. The Jackets answered back in the 4th with 2 of their own, and added 3 more, but it was not enough, as the Lions took the 2nd game 9-6.
Reese only lasted 2.2 innings, giving up 7 hits and 7 runs, 6 earned runs, who was followed by Daniel Tomalak, who threw 1.1 innings, giving up 2 runs. Freshman Cohen Nies finished the game with 3 scoreless innings. The Jackets were only able to put 6 hits up on the scoreboard in the second game.
After the game, we caught up with Troy Konwinski after his great outing, and he had this to say, “I struggled in the beginning of the game in terms of throwing strikes and getting guys out early, our defense had to bail me out quite a few times. We never lost energy and fought hard all game. Our offense came up big towards the end of the game to get us the W.”
Written by Zack Bires