On Friday Sept. 25, the ONU baseball team started off their season with not only a win in mind but also supporting others not on the team. During their first home game, the team had free hot dogs and popcorn. Each of the baseball players were given tickets to hand out to family and friends to get a free hot dog, but for the popcorn there was a of game involved. “Pop-up for popcorn” whenever the opposing team hit their first pop-up, the fans were welcome to go to the press box to receive free popcorn while supplies lasted. All free food was sponsored by the team.
The free food and drinks were not the only thing special about the baseball team’s first game. Veterans from the local Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), with whom the team did a community service project with last year, were present at the game. This year, the team went fishing with them and invited them to come.
According to Student Director of Game Operations Kaitlyn Altmann, the team will be continuing to do similar events throughout the season to draw more fans. The team will be mixing it up this school year to create a fun atmosphere with theme nights and more special events such as the Veteran game.
Olivet is not only playing for those who cannot play baseball anymore, but also those who never got the chance to play.
Senior and starting pitcher Madison Foster said, “My hat says KC on it… [in honor of Kaiser Carlile, a nine-year-old bat boy who died over the summer] and our team has bonded over that. Stuff like that is the reason why I am playing and especially this year, for those kids that never got a chance to play college baseball, I know a lot of people would love to be in the position the 25 or 26 of us are in right now. A lot if it is not wanting to waste an opportunity that someone else would kill to have.”
Not only did the team start off the season in a fun and exciting way, the team also got the win. The final score was 2-0 against the Lincoln Christian University Lions. The Tigers played the Lions two additional times the following day, and pulled out wins for those games also. So far in the season, the team is undefeated with a record of 5-0. This is the third year the team has began their season in the fall. The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) came up with this rule because of how dependent outside sports, such as baseball, are on the weather.
Starting off the season early gives the team a lot less time to prepare. The team has been practicing almost everyday, playing scrimmages against themselves and other teams in the area.
“Everyday we are giving 110 percent, we are all pushing each other to succeed, it is a different atmosphere. Being my fourth year here, I can tell this is a good group of guys that are just encouraging each other,” junior infielder Travis Hill said.
The team’s fall season kick off is now completed, but their games will resume Feb. 12 at 2 p.m. against Bethel University.
—Nicole Pilbeam, Sports Editor