by Bradey King
Colorado Mesa’s speedy and powerful lineup set the tone from start Saturday at Triple Crown’s Fall Colors College Clash. The team showed consistency, crossing home plate in five out of seven innings while junior pitcher McKenzie Surface kept Baker University off the bases through five innings.
Baker made some adjustments in the late innings, but was held scoreless, making the final score 6-0 for CMU. Colorado Mesa went on Saturday post another shutout victory, 5-0, versus Trinidad State Junior College.
Colorado Mesa is in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference and fresh off a very successful 2016-17 season where the Mavericks captured the conference title and competed at the NCAA Division II Regional Tournament. Even early in the season, Surface explained that the game plan for 2018 is the same.
“We’re just trying to get further than we did last year and sticking to that high note we ended on,” she said.
Surface closed out the game with six strikeouts, only giving up one hit.
Despite the final score, Baker University held their own in this tough matchup, keeping composure on defense and making adjustments on offense. Head coach Jamie Stanclift was very proud of her team and is excited about their potential.
“We just really have a lot of confidence that they’re going to help our program continue to move in the right direction and bring a lot of valuable things to our team,” she said.
Baker produced its most successful season under Stanclift with a .500 record last season in the NAIA Heart of America Athletic Conference (HAAC). Prior to this 2017-18 season, Baker signed nine new players, and they’ve already made an instant impact.
Stanclift has big plans for this off-season in order for her team to continue progressing year after year.
“Our biggest improvement areas are building more pitching depth and building an explosive offense with more run production,” she said.
Not in the lineup for the Wildcats this weekend was ace pitcher Olivia Brees, who is a multisport athlete competing in volleyball, too. Brees broke the Baker University strikeout record last year and is certainly a threat to be reckoned with this season.
The nine newcomers join a variety of successful athletes including senior third baseman, Stephanie Cardona. Cardona is an obvious leader for the program and displayed solid defense throughout Saturday’s game.
“My goal for this season is to just leave it all out of the field and do everything I can to help my teammates,” she said.
The event continues through Sunday at Triple Crown’s fields.