In their doubleheader against Susquehanna University on Saturday, the Blue Jays swept the Crusaders on their way to clinching a playoff berth. With a 5-2 victory in the first game, and a close 1-0 win in the second, Etown baseball has effectively established themselves as a powerhouse in the Landmark Conference. Individually, it was a big day for senior pitcher Kris Davis, who picked up his seventh win in the 5-2 victory, bringing him to 7-0 on the season. Coach Cliff Smith also achieved a milestone, notching his 200th win, and making him the third Elizabethtown baseball coach to win as many games, joining Owen Wright and John Gergic in that elite club.
In the first game of their doubleheader, Davis struck out three, in six innings pitched. On pitching his final regular season game as a Blue Jay, he had this to say: “Going into this season I had many individuals goals, some of which I have met and others I haven’t met yet. I’ve never set a goal of getting X number of wins as a pitcher. In my mind, my job as a pitcher is to prepare for each start to the best of my ability, and when I get my opportunity I go out and compete. All those wins were not won on game day, but rather won on the days of preparation leading up to the game. Getting physically, emotionally, and mentally ready are such a critical part of pitching. Every day I go out with the mentality that I am back at 0-0 and my job is to give my team an opportunity to win that day. The 7-0 record is not a testament to my pitching ability, but rather a testament to the amazing defense behind me, the great catchers calling the games, and my offense which has given me incredible run support.”
The second game would not come as easily to the Blue Jays, as starting pitcher junior Kevin Elwell would only secure the win by a one-point margin. However, it would prove to be a milestone for Coach Cliff Smith and the program. It was his 200th win.
“It was very special being able to be apart of coach’s 200 victory, especially being able to clinch a playoff spot on the same day,” Davis said. “Coach has been such an influential figure and mentor to many of us on the baseball team so to be able to be apart of something so special is truly an honor.”
While Etown had the Susquehanna’s number in the doubleheader, they would fall 4-3 on Sunday. However, they will be making a playoff appearance as the number three seed in the conference. “We came into this weekend controlling our own destiny. Winning both games on Saturday clinched us a playoff spot,” Davis said. “We played very good baseball this weekend.”
As the number three seed, the Blue Jays will travel to Moravian College this weekend in the Landmark Semi-finals, making their debut in the Landmark Conference post-season. Davis is confident about the future and capability of the team. “[Seniors] Luke Gatti and Alex Holbert are having player of the year caliber seasons, Elwell and [senior] Taras Letnaunchyn are dominant on the mound, and our defense is exceptional,” he said.
The team is fired up, and will surely be a force in the playoffs. While they may not have secured a series at home, they are ready to be in the postseason, competing at the level they know they can.
“It’s fun to be back in the playoffs. These are the types of games you work so hard to be apart of. We have trained all fall, spring, and winter to put ourselves in the position to play important games in early May,” Davis said. “We have prepared all season for this opportunity so we are going to go out there and compete, and rely on our hours of preparation to carry us to victory.”