Baseball team prepares for first ever SSAC Championship


Linda Hexter

Spencer Rosenbohm, sophomore infielder, sprints to first base after hitting a single against William Carey at Delgado Community College on Friday, April 29. The baseball team clinched their first ever spot in the SSAC tournament in program history.

Emily Branan

In the first round of the Southern States Athletic Conference tournament, the Loyola baseball team lost to top-ranked Faulkner University.

This is the first time that the baseball team has clinched a spot in the SSAC tournament in program history.

The tournament started on May 4 in Montgomery, Alabama and will wrap up on May 7.

It is a double-elimination tournament, meaning that it will take two losses to knock Loyola out of the championships.

The baseball team secured their spot in the tournament on the last day of the regular season, April 30. They were competing with Blue Mountain College for the
eighth spot.

Doug Faust, head coach, said the team had to really earn their spot in the tournament.

A win against William Carey, ranked number 19, helped them secure the eighth and final spot in
the conference.

“It is especially satisfying because we had to beat a top 20 program on the final day in order to get in,” Faust said.

Faust said the SSAC has many good teams, with four SSAC teams ranked in the top 20 in the NAIA.

“For us to qualify for the tournament in such a competitive league shows us that we are getting better as a program,” Faust said.

Faust said the momentum started after Loyola’s 2-1 win over Auburn University at Montgomery on April 22. Auburn was ranked the number eight team in the SSAC.

“The wins that we have had recently over good teams gives us confidence that we can compete with the best. We now realize that if we play well against good teams that we will have a chance to win the game, not just be close,” Faust said.

Blake Toscano, red shirt junior, said after the Auburn game that the main goal for the rest of the season was to make the tournament; it didn’t matter where the team ranked or when it happened.

After beating Auburn, Faust said he knew the team would still be in the fight for a tournament spot until the end of the regular season.

Luis Anguizola, first baseman, was excited going into the first round of the tournament and getting to play against Faulkner.

“We are going to the tournament as underdogs because nobody thought we were going to make it. The team is relaxed, we’re just going to play and have fun and see what happens,” Anguizola said.

Anguizola said it is the hard work and the little things that the team is doing that allowed them to get into the tournament.

Faust said the team is excited and ready for the tournament.

“I will tell them to go out and have fun, enjoy the experience. There is really no pressure on us,” Faust said.

Daniel Posway, starting pitcher, said as a senior, it means a lot to him to see the evolution of the team over his college career.

“We want to go out as the most successful program that’s been around in a while, but mainly leadership and leaving the program with the right mentality because it is on the up and we’ve come a long way since my freshman year,”
Posway said.

The team will play their next game in the loser’s bracket against William Carey College on May 5
at 1 p.m.