Beeman: ‘just play baseball’ down the stretch PDF Print
Friday, 24 April 2009

baseball
Senior Jeff McClafferty readies to make a successful scoop of a throw from third to record an out against Baker Saturday. In addition to providing a steady defensive presence as BC’s putout leader, McClafferty’s bat has played an integral role in BC’s recent offensive surge. Hitting .354, McClafferty is tied for the team lead in RBI and three of his team-leading 12 home runs have come in the last two weeks. (Alzbeta Voboril I Photo Editor)
Raven baseball coach Doc Beeman sat in his office scratching his head Monday afternoon, debating whether or not to book a trip for his team to Fayette, Mo. for the Heart of America Athletic Conference Tournament.

That’s the jackpot question around the Ballpark at Benedictine this week as the Ravens seek to qualify for postseason play after a two-year absence.

With the high number of contests around the conference still to be played, offering different scenarios of how the HAAC could turn out might take up this entire page. As of Tuesday, only Lindenwood, William Jewell and Culver-Stockton were sure locks for conference tournament play.

That’s why Beeman said the Ravens have to just worry about themselves during the final push. By the regular season finale against William Jewell Sunday, BC will have played 10 games in six days.

“We’re just playing baseball. We can’t get caught up in what else is going on in the league,” Beeman said. “We can’t get caught up in who has who left on whose schedule and how many games. We have to go out and we just have to play the game of baseball. And no matter who
we’re facing or when we’re facing them or where they are in the
standings, if we go out and play the way we can play we’ll be fine.”

A simple approach for the end of what’s been an up-and-down season for the Ravens in their skipper’s second year at the helm. Beeman and his squad have faced constant game postponements, an unplayable field and a nine-game losing skid in late March that could’ve sent things spiraling out of control.

“We’re in a situation where we had one little skid in the middle of the year when we just couldn’t put anything together,” Beeman said. “We were getting rescheduled all the time, ready to play, not playing and then having games just pop up. When you are in a little bit of a funk ,that’s tough to come out of and once we got back to playing the regular basics we got right back to playing good baseball.”

The latest turn in the roller-coaster ride came Tuesday at Evangel, where Benedictine dropped both games of the doubleheader by a run each (5-4, 6-5).

Despite being swept in the twinbill, the Ravens clung to the eighth and last playoff spot in the HAAC as of Tuesday, with a three-game lead over Baker University after taking 3 of 4 from the Wildcats last weekend.

Pitchers Bryan Poland, Madison Rochon and Tim Segelke all earned complete-game victories in the Baker Series.

First baseman Jeff McClafferty and outfielder Bobby Medina both hit home runs against the Wildcats, continuing BC’s recent trend of power hitting to complement a steady dose of base hits from the Raven lineup.

“We knew we were going to hit more home runs this year, not by a lot but we knew we could play the long ball a little bit more,” Beeman said. “Jeff had a big one yesterday against Baker with a runner in scoring position and he was able to leave the yard and give us a big cushion. That’s when we want them.

“For us it’s more of ‘let’s hit with runners in scoring position.’ Our pitching has held up pretty well in this huge number of games. If we can keep hitting and driving in runs we’ll be in pretty good shape.”

As of Tuesday, the Raven staff had a combined ERA of 6.43. Poland and Rochon have been the staples of the starting rotation, with some highs and lows coming out of the bullpen.

“In seven-inning games your bullpen is used so sporadically, it’s tough to keep those guys sharp,” Beeman said of his relievers. “Poland and Madison don’t like to give the ball away. We’re not panicked yet. If we can get through and get some good solid starts out of our arms then we should be in good shape.”

BC can solidify its spot in the playoffs with a strong showing this weekend.

The Ravens head to Olathe today for the first two contests of a four-game series with MidAmerica Nazarene. The series will conclude tomorrow at the Ballpark at Benedictine with the first pitch set for 1 p.m.

William Jewell will be in town Sunday for a senior-day doubleheader. The Cardinals were second in the HAAC as of Tuesday.

“We’ve put ourselves in a position with one week left in the season where we control our destiny,” Beeman said. “We have a team that we can put way behind us Friday-Saturday and then a team that could eventually be a tie-breaker at some point on Sunday.

“It’s all in our hands, but there’s no pressure on us. We’ve just got to relax, play the game we know how to play and I think things will take care of themselves.”

Last Updated ( Friday, 24 April 2009 )
 
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