By Ray Beasley |Staff Writer|
Coyote baseball came home with a 3–1 series victory in their April 27–29 weekend series against the tough San Francisco State Gators. They took a narrow 3–2 victory in the final game of the series, giving them the final win to close out the grueling weekend.
While every series victory is won by team efforts, the Coyotes would not have been as successful without their sensational left-handed starting pitcher Cory Caruso.
Caruso grinded through a 127 pitch effort, striking out 11 Gators, and giving up only one earned run in the 3–2 victory in the series finale.
The 11 strikeout performance is a team-high for the Coyotes this season. “I never felt tired, and with the adrenaline pumping I could have played all night,” said Caruso.
With the Gators breathing down the Coyotes’ neck throughout the entire series, the stellar performance could not have come at a better time.
Caruso’s outstanding 127 pitch game was not the only amazing feat of the weekend. Senior Edwin Mendoza was able to hit his team-leading 10th home run of the season.
“The home run was exciting. The park [San Francisco State’s] was big, so I was not expecting to do too much, but I saw a pitch come up and went for it,” said Mendoza.
These demonstrations of patience and fortitude are a testament to the mental conditioning that takes place throughout each and every baseball game.
“Baseball is different then basketball or football, where any one player on the opposing team can steal a win from you, but in baseball the enemy is yourself,” said head coach Don Parnell.
Many fans and followers of baseball largely focus on the highlights of a baseball game, and forget about the mental challenge that each player must overcome to achieve victory.
The highs and the lows of the game can wear on even the most seasoned veteran. With the playoffs around the corner, the Coyotes needed this win to maintain moral and mental strength.
After a grueling 50-game season and with the chance of any team being able to win the playoffs at any given moment, the Coyotes are learning to temper their emotional excitement through mental conditioning and focus.
“Emotions are key, they are a good thing and a bad thing. You want that playoff high, but not let it overtake you,” said Parnell. With winning expectations, high standards and the mental ambition to always play their best, the Coyotes are a team to mirror not only in baseball, but in life.
They are finding joy in their series win this past weekend, but they are not going to let it get in the way of having to play diligently against their final regular season opponent, Cal State Dominguez Hills.
With a chance to still achieve the number one spot in their conference, expect the Coyotes to come out fierce in this crucial series. For now, they are focused on the simple task of making the playoffs.
In order to do so, they will have to defeat a tough CSU Dominguez Hills Toros squad who will be looking to play spoiler and keep the Coyotes out of contention. With the way they have playing this year, however, it is clear that nothing will get in between the Coyotes and the playoffs.