By Rebecca Carney
The Hutchinson Community baseball team has been on quite the roll lately. The Blue Dragons, who are now 32-16, have won four of their last five games.
“We’re on a good roll, and I think the thing we’re doing is we’re finding ways to win,” Blue Dragons coach Ryan Schmidt said. “Whether it’s by scoring a lot of runs or playing really good defense or good pitching, we’re finding ways to put games together to put us in the spot that we want to be in.”
The Blue Dragons are currently chasing the conference title, and the upcoming weeks are going to be big indicators of whether the Blue Dragons will win the title. The Blue Dragons, who are tied with Colby Community College at 16-8, are scheduled to finish up a four-game series with the Trojans on Saturday. The series started Thursday, and it will have big implications on which team could win the conference title.
The players seem to love being in situations like these. Riley Metzger, a sophomore out of Stillwater, Oklahoma said he was enjoying the race for first.
“As a player, this is what you look for,” Metzger said. “To come down to the wire and have it in your hands and you control your own destiny. That’s really all you could ever ask for.”
As the regular season starts to wind down, making post-season play and winning a conference title is on most players’ and coaches’ minds. The atmosphere on the field feels a little different.
With the standings the way they are, each player takes each pitch and swing just as seriously as they did before, but when it comes down to the wire, like it is now, and with keeping upcoming series in mind, players and coaches tend to think of things a little bit differently. Every little play and every error come to mind, and inches can make that much of a difference, whether it’s just in winning one game or possibly winning a conference championship.
“There has been a different vibe,” Schmidt said. “I think we flipped the light switch on and took our competitiveness up to the next level, especially when we were on the road at Seward (County). We had come off a frustrating day at home and we went our there and just kept going.”
While the Blue Dragons are in the running for a conference championship, they aren’t quite there yet. HutchCC will finish up a four-game series with Colby on Saturday and then play third-place Cloud County the following week. The Blue Dragons know they still have some unfinished business to tend to and are ready to finish the season out strong.