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Baseball team fights for spot in tournament

     The MVNU baseball team continues to fight for a spot in the Crossroads League tournament.

     The Cougars have 12 regular season Crossroads League contests left and are sitting in last place. In a very competitive 10-team league, the Cougars hold a conference record of 7-7. Only the top eight teams make it into the league’s post-season tournament.

     The Cougars won both games of a doubleheader today, shutting out the University of Saint Francis to improve to 25-16 overall.

     The season has been a challenge for the Cougars, who graduated 10 seniors last year.      The 2015 class made up the entire starting outfield and much of the infield.

     The current roster consists of four seniors, five juniors, three sophomores and 13 freshmen. But the team is working hard together and improving by the week, coach Keith Veale said.

     “That’s where we’re at,” Veale said. “It’s who we’re working with. In a lot of ways, our freshmen have played pretty well for what we’ve expected them to do.”

     Freshman Yanni Patten leads the young team in batting average with .462 in 36 games played.

     Also standing out for the Cougars offensively is freshman Christian Bacon with a batting average of .345, and senior Efrain Montero who isn’t far behind with a .344 average.

     According to Veale, the future success of the Cougars will depend on their improvement at bat.

     “Offensively, we have got to get more consistent throughout our lineup,” Veale said.

     In 10 games played, senior Lucas Daugherty leads the way for the pitching staff with an ERA of 0.89 and 69 strikeouts through 60.2 innings pitched. Senior Roberto Cediel also paces the Cougars with an ERA of 2.25 in 44 innings pitched.

     Also helping the Cougars on the mound is freshman Trenton Wood, who sports a 3.27 ERA.

     Veale continues to push the team in many and varied ways.

     “We’re trying to find ways to get better each and every day, and it’s not easily done when you don’t have a lot of experience,” Veale said.

     The Cougars will travel to Spring Arbor University for a doubleheader this Tuesday beginning at 2 p.m.

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