Missouri Southern baseball kicked off the 2020 season with the Edmond First Pitch Classic hosted by the University of Central Oklahoma. The team traveled to Central Oklahoma where they played games on Friday, Jan. 31, Saturday, Feb. 1, and Sunday, Feb. 2.
“We all came in only knowing what we could do, and the new guys didn’t know much other than the expectations that are laid by previous teams,” said Zach Parish, senior occupational therapy major and baseball player.
The Lions won the game against Northwestern Oklahoma 7-5 on the first day. Parish was the standout in the game going six innings and striking out 10. Parish only let one hit and one run get by him. Parish now sits with 305 strikeouts in his career which is only 45 strikeouts away from breaking the MIAA single-season record.
Southern entered the ninth inning 7-1. They were able to hold the opposing team off to come out with their first win.
The Lions returned the second day to defeat Central Oklahoma 6-3.
Southern was able to score five runs in the fourth and fifth innings to take out the rival team.
The third day took the Lions two day winning streak with a 13-0 loss against Southwestern Oklahoma. Southern tried where they could to advance in runs, though Southwestern brought it home with eight in the sixth inning.
“This past weekend and the weekend before, we saw ourselves at a low and a high moment and being able to see the low really helps, because it lets us see what we are made of and how people handle losing,” said Parish.
The Lions finished 35-21 last season and was one game from first place in the MIAA standings. That game would have allowed the team to go to the 2019 NCAA tournament.
With a group of returners including Parish, who was MIAA Pitcher of the year, MIAA Freshman of the Year, Dexter Swims, and MIAA Coach of the Year, Bryce Darnell, as well as 15 newcomers, Parish is confident that the team will perform well this season.
“This team is made up of grinders and they will do whatever it takes to be the best in the conference. Also, we all are looking forward to the challenges that the MIAA will throw at us and ready to get things rolling,” said Parish.
Parish expects to see his team get another shot at the MIAA Championship title. The team comes together to bond and grow close so they will play well on the field. Parish says the family aspect of the team goes a long way.
The Lions will suit up next on their own home field, Feb. 14, against McKendree University at 10 a.m.