Baseball unites
Mar10

Baseball unites

With a preseason record of 7-4, the Cru will kick off conference play against the Hardin-Simmons Cowboys in Abilene March 12-13. Assistant and pitching coach Derek Dunaway believes the team needs the extra week to decipher what kind of chemistry they have. “We can hit, we can pitch, we can play defense, and we’ve just got to fi gure a way to get it all going at the same time,” he said. Dunaway knows the team will unite as they keep “playing games and by being out there (on the field).” Last fall, the rainy weather didn’t allow the Cru to practice on a regular basis, so they are currently having to bond as a team. The weather has persisted to affect some of the practices this spring. They still haven’t been on the field enough “to get in a rhythm and figure out what our team is made of.” Cru baseball wants to win games this season, and being victorious is their goal. “If you’re not hitting, then pitching has to be better,” Dunaway said, “and if we’re not pitching very well then we have to find a way to hit the ball.” Senior catcher Ryan Moreau is looking forward to conference, and “definitely see us making a run for first. “I think it’s going to be a good year for us. When we put everything together we can play with anybody,” he said. College is a different ball game, and Dunaway encourages freshmen to learn from the upperclassmen. Senior right fielder Joseph Villegas knows team trust will make a successful season. “The freshmen have to step up and have confidence in what they’re doing,” Villegas said. “Some have to take leadership roles as far as pitching or taking a position spot, and need to be confident in the team.” The young “guys are real talented, but haven’t had the experience to understand what college pitching is about,” he said. “Our big thing is trying to get the hitter to hit the ball on our terms … we’re trying to avoid hard...

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Improvements for Cru softball due to new players

“I definitely expect a trip to the World Series this year, and I’m sure I can speak for the whole team on that one,” said junior catcher Lindsey Gordon. The season began this spring with a pair of wins over the Pirates of Southwestern University. With the addition of a few new players, including short stop Brittany Moreno, outfielders Kaysie Creech and Austin McCormick, third baseman Caitlin Bollier, and pitchers Erica White and Hannah White, the team is much deeper and equipped with athletes who can perform in multiple positions. Head softball Coach Kasey Blomquist said, “I am very excited about the chemistry of our team as well as the athletic ability. This year we have a lot more depth, and kids are going to be doing a lot more things. We made some mistakes against Southwestern, but overall I was pleased with outing.” Defensively they were strong, and they fought hard the entire time, which is something they struggled with last season. Unfortunately, the women weren’t as successful in their next doubleheader against Louisiana College. The Wildcats quickly jumped ahead with a two-run homer that would lead to an 8-0 victory. In the second game, the Cru wasn’t able to overcome another early deficit, and lost 10-3. Gordon said, “I think our hitting needed to improve, which we have been working on a lot. There were a few defensive errors made, but I know we will improve in that area, too.” Junior outfielder Sarah Roman said that there are four words they try to live by: dedicated, determined, competitive and respect. “We’re not letting that loss get us down, but build us up,” she said. “It’s an opportunity to learn.” The team still has high hopes for the season, and many of them feel they have what it takes to win a championship. Roman said, “My expectations for the season are to dominate. We are an incredibly talented and versatile team, and we have the capability to make it past conference and continue to the World Series.” Defense and pitching are two things Blomquist wanted to improve on from last season, and with the new talent added to the squad, she believes they have done just that. But how have the freshmen and transfers meshed with the core group? Roman said, “The new players have fi t in incredibly well with the returners, (and) our team chemistry has become so strong. Some of my best friends are on this team, and I know it’s like that for other girls.” The next home game will be on March 26 at 1 p.m. against the Mountaineers of Schreiner University. It...

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Cru pitch pink
Feb25

Cru pitch pink

The baseball team followed in the tracks of the women’s basketball team and supported breast cancer awareness month through Pink Zone on February 10. The team wore pink uniform tops, pink shoelaces and pink wristbands. The lady Cru basketball team started the idea, and the baseball team decided to expand it. Pink T-shirts were sold in the SUB and Hardy for $10 and tribute cards for $1; all proceeds benefited Kay Yow WBCA Cancer Fund. The Cru lost to Trinity 7-0, causing UMHB to fall to 3-2 on the season. Despite the loss, head Coach Wells said the game was a success. “We absolutely plan to have another pink game,” he said. “We raised $750 our first time around, and seeing the support of the campus and this community was amazing. We sold 150 shirts for two hours on Monday and 45 minutes on Tuesday, and they sold out. I still have phone calls coming in about T-shirts, and I think we could have easily sold twice as many as we did if we had prepared for that many.” Wells said sophomore sport management major Seth Lynn approached him in the fall and asked to do a breast cancer awareness event similar to the women’s basketball team. “I told him let’s wait until the spring and piggyback with theirs. Let’s see if we can do something to give more recognition not to just our event but to their event as well. Students can go to our game and then continue with the support and go to their Thursday game and make this thing a little bit bigger than just one day.” Lynn played first base during the game and said it is important for people to be aware about breast cancer. “My family has been impacted by breast cancer,” he said while wearing a pink band around his wrist. “It’s important for people to realize how many people it affects. The game was also a good way to get involved with the community.” Senior exercise and sport science major Andrew White said he wanted to help out however he could. “In every way, besides the loss, the game was a great success,” he said. “Any time you can raise money with a team/ campus effort to contribute to those in need is a great success in itself.” For many senior players, their last opening home game was played in these jerseys that symbolize help. “It was kind of funny,” Lynn said. “I think everyone else was really involved and didn’t mind it; they knew it was for a good cause, and the coaches were all for it. I don’t...

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Men’s basketball to host ASC tourney
Feb25

Men’s basketball to host ASC tourney

The men’s American Southwest Conference tournament will return once again to UMHB Mayborn arena this season. The Crusaders have now hosted the tournament twice out of the last three years. Head Coach Ken Deweese and the team have had to overcome several obstacles from the start of the season. The biggest problem they had to beat was the fact that they were realistically starting new. In the 2008-09 season, the Cru lost 10 starters. “We should have and could have had a rocky start, but I think these guys started off great considering the circumstances,” Deweese said. He gives the players praise for their intensity and drive to turn this season into a great one. “We had very little experience back, a lot of new guys that did not know each other. I have a great deal of respect for this year’s team members, their work ethic, their competitiveness and their willingness to help each other. It has been hard work for them, but they have never complained.” The fact that the players have truly come together and are playing well on the court is the basis of why they are at the top of their playing ability and why they are hosting the ASC tournament. One of the few returning members of the team is senior finance major Rich Moore who plays guard and forward. He thinks the men’s Crusader basketball team is where they are due to giving it 100 percent at all times. “No matter what is happening or how bad we are playing, everyone seems to be giving a solid effort, and that is always a great sign,” he said. There shouldn’t be any speculation as to why the Cru would host the ASC tournament. They won their first six out of eight games, and their overall record is 17-6 while their conference record is 15-4. Also in almost every game, the Cru have outscored their opponents by half time and maintained the lead in the second period. The team has had a total of 1,833 points, averaging 80 points per game. One of the leading scorers for the Crusaders is junior marketing major Dean Pele. He is new to the team this season and has been fitting in well. Even when he hasn’t been playing well, he has the team to lift his spirits. “I started off really well and then hit a slump, but luckily my teammates picked me up, and I feel like I’ve been playing much better in terms of helping the team now than I was at the beginning of the season,” he said. Pele along with the rest of...

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Tennis on the upswing
Feb25

Tennis on the upswing

Both the men’s and women’s tennis teams are back on the court, and they have come out firing. This past weekend the Cru went head-to-head in a dual conference match against Schreiner University, in which the women swept the Mountaineers 9-0, while the men secured a commanding 6-3 victory at UMHB’s Yvonne Li Tennis Center. Sophomore singles and doubles player Megan Aarhus said, “So far the season has been going really great. We’ve had a successful first tournament and first dual match.” The accomplishments of the team can be linked to several different factors, but Aarhus has her own theory. “I believe we have been successful this year because we’ve picked up a strong sense of school spirit (while) bringing in a greater confidence in each of us as players.” Head Coach for both teams, James Cohagan, has been pleased with the way his athletes have performed and believes this year’s squad is one of the greatest assemblies of players the university has seen in a while. “They are doing well this year,” he said. They have worked harder in conditioning than any group we’ve had in the last five years, and there is more team unity and expectations of themselves and each other.” One key element that the men have done well is winning their doubles matches. Cohagan explained that if the guys get ahead in doubles, then some of the stress of performing well in singles is relieved. “It’s like who scores fi rst in a baseball game,” he said. “If you can get up in the doubles, then everyone can kind of relax and do their best.” The women have done particularly well in singles this season, as well as in doubles play. They took 1st, 2nd and 3rd place finishes in singles for the first match of the semester, the Cru Spring Classic, and won the championship over Southwestern University in doubles. Junior men’s team captain Daniel White said, “Of the three years that I have been here, this is the best (team) by far. We have worked harder this year than ever before. We do something productive at least five days a week, whether that is hitting, conditioning or watching film of our previous matches. The team has completely changed its mentality and we have become really intense, treating everything as one step closer to our goal of going to conference.” Both teams will travel to Longview Feb 25 to take on the Yellow Jackets of Letourneau University at 2...

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Consistency is key basis for Lady Cru improvement

The women’s golf team has had a break between play, but players are anxious to get back on the green and win some tournaments this spring. The Cru’s year-long season began with a first place win in The Lady Bulldog Fall Classic at Texas Lutheran University last semester. Collectively, the team shot a 639, beating out Trinity University, UT-Dallas, Hardin-Simmons and many more. They started strong and didn’t falter much in the other tournaments. However, the one time the women had an issue was when they placed 9th in the UMHB Fall Invitational. Head Coach Darla Kirby said, “We had a pretty decent fall. The only disappointment was our home tournament. It just seemed like everybody struggled those two days. But we won our first tournament of the year, and we had two 3rd place finishes. So we’re ahead of where we were last year with our finishes, and also our scoring averages.” Consistency is something both Kirby and senior sports management major Christi Williams thinks the team can improve on. “It’s a matter of getting two-day totals together,” she said. “We would have a bad first day, and we would all come back (and play well) the second day. But you have to have both days if you’re going to win.” Overall, Kirby believes the team has weathered the storm and fought through challenging circumstances. “At TLU it had rained so much and the course was so wet, but they handled those conditions well,” she said. “They want to win, and you can’t teach that attitude. You either have it or you don’t.” February 22-23, the ladies will compete in the UMHB Spring Invitational at Mill Creek Golf Club in Salado for the first and only home tournament of the semester. They’ll compete in a few other tournaments as well, but the ultimate goal is playing at Horseshoe Bay April 19 and 20 for the conference tournament. Kirby said, “Everybody, top to bottom, has to work hard all semester in order for us to improve. We beat all our conference schools the first tournament, but then they beat us in the other tournaments, so it’s up for grabs.” Senior elementary education major Courtney Nelson said, “I think this year should be our best year. If we’re confident in ourselves, we should do a lot better this...

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