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Dakota Wesleyan baseball eager to play after COVID wiped out 2020 season

“It’s hugely beneficial and probably even more so for me this year with obviously just taking over in January and not really getting to see the guys playing in the fall,” Dubanoski said. “Being able to get some non-conference games in, where you can give some guys some opportunities and I can kind of get a good look and hopefully a pretty good feel for our guys. It was huge to get down there.”

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Dakota Wesleyan University third baseman Tyler Torres fires over to first base for an out during a game against Presentation College on Wednesday, March 27, 2019 at Drake Field. (Matt Gade / Republic)
Matt Gade

It’s been a whirlwind for Charlie Dubanoski and the Dakota Wesleyan University baseball team.

Dubanoski, who replaced John Greicar, was hired as DWU’s baseball coach on Jan. 15 after recently serving as the University of Sioux Falls head assistant coach. The Tigers played their season opener on Feb. 27 in Joplin, Missouri.

The trip helped with Dubanoski’s short turnaround and to get in some live competition.

“It’s hugely beneficial and probably even more so for me this year with obviously just taking over in January and not really getting to see the guys playing in the fall,” Dubanoski said. “Being able to get some non-conference games in, where you can give some guys some opportunities and I can kind of get a good look and hopefully a pretty good feel for our guys. It was huge to get down there.”

The Tigers won their first four games in Missouri against Graceland University (Iowa). In early March, they went 0-4 against Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas.

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DWU had its 2020 spring season wiped out due to COVID. Dubanoski sensed the Tigers were eager to play after their season was taken away.

“We were pretty fired up,” Dubanoski said. “We had tons of energy and we were really getting after it. I would say they were definitely chomping at the bit to get going.”

Dubanoski was impressed with DWU’s competitiveness during the eight-game swing.

“We compete well with just about everybody,” Dubanoski said. “You look at Benedictine, which only had a couple losses on the season and we were right in there every game. I would just say our overall competitiveness and basically being able to hang with anybody I would say was something I really liked and took away.”

Dakota Wesleyan picked up a 2-0 win over William Penn in Crete, Nebraska, on March 8. The Tigers are 5-9 overall and 0-4 in the GPAC entering their doubleheader against Morningside College on Saturday in Yankton.

Weather permitting, DWU’s schedule is about to ramp up. The Tigers host Midland University in a 1 p.m. doubleheader on Sunday at Drake Field. Their schedule then features 20 games between March 31 to April 27 as they’ll be jockeying for the postseason.

“You’ve got a month to essentially prove what kind of baseball team you are,” Dubanoski said. “I think as long as we go out and play well, I do like our chances.”

Individually, Ethan Davis (1-2) has a 4.26 ERA in a team-high 19 innings pitched this season.

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“Ethan Davis was basically the ace of our staff going in,” Dubanoski said. “Everybody had known that. He’s thrown well in his three outings. He’s competed really, really well with commanding four pitches and doing a good job there.”

Pat Starr (1-1), Seth Christiansen (1-1, 3.00 ERA) and Kyle Halverson (0-1, 3.86 ERA) have also logged the most time on the mound.

Offensively, Cameron Quigley is hitting .447 and has driven in five runs through 38 at-bats.

“Cam Quigley has probably been our most consistent guy as far as just quality at-bats,” Dubanoski said. “He’s done a really good job.”

Luke LeMay (.341/9 RBIs) has also swung a consistent bat earlier in the season.

“He’s basically consistent day in and day out,” Dubanoski said. “He hits the ball hard and has done a great job.”

Winner graduate Drew DeMers is hitting .298 and has knocked in six runs. Jacob Hammons is batting .238 to go along with nine RBIs.

The Tigers are batting .261 as a team, which is 10th out of 11 teams in the GPAC.

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“We haven’t necessarily had our best game offensively,” Dubanoski said. “I still think our lineup top to bottom, there’s a lot of guys that can hurt you. I think once we kind of get into conference here, that we can see our guys swinging the bats pretty good here.”

Related Topics: BASEBALL
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