The line was long as Pacific University baseball players waited to turn in their uniforms for the year. For some players it was the first time they had donned the red and black colors belonging to the Boxers. For some, they look forward to wearing them again next season. For others, sadly, this will be the last time they hold that hallowed number in their hands.
Team leaders are retiring from Pacific. Among those leaders are Rob Dittrick, Matt Delegato, Michael Arakaki, Anson Arakaki, Logan Moen and Trux French.
This core group contributed to the success the team had a year ago when they split the conference title with Whitworth.
This year the team was not so fortunate.
With a landslide of losses to open the season, the Boxers didn’t stand a chance at recovering, or at least that was the consensus around campus. While they battled back to tie for fourth, Head Coach Greg Bradley said he expected better.
This in mind, the Boxers went on a 17-12 run after opening the year 0-11. They finished 17-23.
Bradley said the biggest thing the team needs to improve on for next season is hitting. He gave few specifics, but acknowledged that hitting for average and hitting with runners in scoring position are among the largest of areas where improvement is needed.
The team hit just .246, 0.34 points lower than opponents. Bradley said he would like to see the team hitting closer to .280 next season.
The Boxers pitching staff adjusted well to an onslaught of injuries that could have disabled them altogether.
Jason Sawyer, a junior starter who played a role in last year’s success called it quits for the season after an arm injury that would require Tommy John surgery. He likely will not return next season, as the recovery time from such a surgery is at least nine months.
Also, sophomore Tyler Kotchik was sidelined with a knee injury that cost him the entire season. And sophomore Kyle Treadway missed some important games with a shoulder injury.
All three were candidates for a starting position in all game two appearances.
Freshmen Nick Morton and Jimmy Brakebush played essential roles filling in for the injured group.
With the offseason ahead the team will focus on getting some work through summer ball. They will meet up again next fall in preparation for the spring.
In regards to the end of the season Delegato said, “We weren’t as good as we could have been.”
That being said, fans should take something good away from this season. There is room for the Boxers to improve and grow.
Under a senior leader like Bradley, the team will come out more prepared and ready for battle next season.
“Kyle Treadway and Dan Jaffe will be leaders for us next year,” said Bradley.