Ravens baseball team hits the road for U.S. trip

The Carleton Ravens baseball team embarked on their first-ever United States weekend road trip this May. This Ravens team has rarely played this time of year, as their regular season usually ends around October.

The trip began with a double-header hosted by the SUNY Canton University Kangaroos, a New York junior varsity team. The first day of the road trip was hampered by cold and stormy New York weather.

Michael Bannon, starting pitcher for the Ravens, said the weather can have an impact on the game.

“It’s tough to find your arm in this type of weather, the rain makes the ball a little more slippery and the mound has more give, therefore our cleats can’t dig in,” Bannon said.

The early stages of the game featured a great pitching matchup: Carleton’s Bannon against SUNY Canton’s Phil Cohen, both of whom had over seven strikeouts over the course of the seven-inning game. Both pitchers locked down on the strike zone early and held the opposing teams at bay.

The first sign of offence came from SUNY Canton in the bottom of the fourth inning when a Kangaroos hit to left field secured a run, the first of the game. From there, the Kangaroos were able to build their lead to two and the Ravens offence was unable to catch up. Carleton’s bats were as cold as the wind they were playing in, and they fell 2-1.

“It is all about the timing,” said Jordan Harcourt, a Ravens pitcher. “Our timing is a little off at the start of the season. That comes with any season and team, not just with us. Timing is key.”

During the second game of the double-header, the Ravens jumped on the opposing pitching early. Facing a tall task against a switch form pitcher, who had the ability to throw the ball with three different deliveries, Carleton was able to hit the ball more effectively. Kevin Park had two hits to help Carleton find runs in the early stages of the game.

“For the second game, the strategy was to not be as picky and swing a little bit more. We had to stop waiting for the perfect pitch and try to make contact.,” said Ravens head coach Andre Robidoux.

Relief pitcher Curtis Lacelle came in after the second inning and recorded five strikeouts, as he kept the Kangaroos to a single run. He pitched himself out of a jam late in the game and allowed Carleton to hold onto to their lead through to the end. The Ravens rebounded with a 5-3 victory.

Next up, Carleton journeyed to play another New York school: the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Engineers.

The Ravens found themselves in a quick 5-0 hole. The Engineers’ batter Jack Vaccari had a grand slam in the bottom of the first inning to open the scoring and set the tone for the game. The potent offense continued for the Engineers, who went on to score six more runs to beat the Ravens 11-2. Despite the blowout loss, Robidoux said that he saw many positive signs from his team.

“In a nine-inning game, there [were] only two innings which we had difficulties and if you take away the big error that was costly in both innings, it is a tie game,” Robidoux said.

The Ravens had plans to play another double-header, this time against St. Joseph’s College, but the harsh weather conditions forced an early end to the trip.

Photo credits: Thomas Keating