By Anna Dunlavey
Lords baseball will face their first North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) opponent, Hiram College, this weekend. If they continue to play like they have been in the opening weeks of their season, they should be a tough match for the Terriers. The Lords are currently 10-6 after playing 15 games on a spring break trip to Florida and winning over Mt. Saint Joseph University 5-3 last Wednesday.
This season should prove a monumental one for Jake Dunn ’15. In the Mount Saint Joseph game, he hit his seventh double of the season and 50th of his career, passing Kenyon’s all-time doubles record set by Matt Marcinczyk ’06. “He’s been the model of consistency,” Head Coach Matt Burdette said of Dunn’s past four years. Dunn’s classmate Kyle Hardacker ’15 is also having a solid start to his season, and both he and Dunn are getting close to breaking other school records. “They’re two of the best offensive players we’ve ever had,” Burdette said.
The other three seniors on the team are all pitchers and have also been “vital cogs in the machine since day one,” according to Burdette. Josh Jacobvitz ’15, Mike Jeffers ’15 and Tim Krahn ’15 are all starting pitchers this year, as they were tin thier first year. They also each have at least one win under their belts this season.
“That’s a unique thing, when you have five seniors and all of them have been really important pieces to the puzzle,” Burdette said.
“We all play pretty significant roles on the team,” Hardacker said.
However, it’s not just the senior pitchers who have contributed to the Lords’ impressive start. Jesse Bogacz ’18 and Paul Henshaw ’16 both threw no-hitters during the Florida series. Southpaw Bogacz pitched the Lords’ 4-0 win over Immaculata University in a doubleheader, and Henshaw hurled the 7-0 win in a doubleheader against Westminster College the next day. Burdette said that although a starter and a reliever combined for a no-hitter during the 2008 season, this was the first time in 20 years that a single Kenyon pitcher has pitched a whole game without giving up a hit.
“We’re getting contributions from every class,” Burdette said. “I think that’s what defines a good program.”
Pitching and defense have been strong, but Burdette, Dunn and Hardacker noted that the offense could be stronger. In last Wednesday’s game, the Lords’ five runs were all scored with the help of seven errors by the Mount Saint Joseph squad. “Timely hitting will lead to more wins,” Dunn said.
The NCAC has some tough competition in store for the Lords. “Every single team in this league is really good, so you really can’t let your guard down,” Burdette said. “Every game is going to be a tough battle.”
His seniors are feeling confident going into league play. “We’re looking pretty good this year,” Hardacker said. “All we have to do is get the hitting going, and then we’re a complete team.”
Dunn added, “We just have to stay focused and attack every game with a purpose.”