November 26, 2020

Best Men’s Team for 2012-2013: Baseball

PHOTO BY DAN DUNCAN

Last season, the Webster University baseball team dropped contests to Wheaton College (Mass.) and Marietta College (Ohio) in the program’s first-ever trip to the NCAA Division III College World Series (CWS). Webster dropped the 3-2 pitchers’ duel to Wheaton and surrendered 10 unanswered runs in the loss to Marietta to end its stay in the tournament. The 2012 season ended with 36 wins, tops in Webster history.

In 2013, Webster faced Wheaton and Marietta again in Florida during the Gorloks’ spring break trip. This time, Wheaton and Marietta were ranked No. 1 and 2 in the country, respectively. And this time, the Gorloks took down the Lyons 10-1 and the Pioneers 3-2.

Webster holds the No. 10 ranking in the country. Senior pitcher Cody Hafeli said he knows what has been different in 2013 for Webster.

“It’s our work ethic and our determination to win,” Hafeli said. “Going to the World Series last year has definitely been a key for us this year.”

After the RussMatt Central Florida Invitational on March 16, the Gorloks possessed a 7-5 record. Eleven wins later, Webster found itself on a 13-game win streak and began St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play 9-0. Webster continued its SLIAC hot streak and had an 18-game conference win streak before losing to Spalding University (Ky.) on Saturday, April 27.

Hafeli said knowing the team can compete with the nationally ranked schools has helped the squad this year.

“Knowing that we’re not just a team that can win the SLIAC every year, but we’re a team that can compete nationally with the best teams around (is a key),” Hafeli said. “I think that’s the difference — having that experience under our belt. This batch of players knows we have the talent to not just compete, but beat these teams.”

Webster’s challenging stretch doesn’t end with SLIAC teams. The Gorloks will head to Normal, Ill., on Wednesday, May 1 to take on Division-I Illinois State University (ISU). The Cardinals are 27-16 on the season. This will be the second consecutive year the Gorloks will play ISU.

With four regular-season games remaining, Webster’s record stands at 29-7. With another Regional tournament title, Webster would eclipse last season’s record win total. Nineteen players on the roster this year experienced the ups and downs of 2012, and Hafeli said that may be the missing piece for an even better finish in 2013.

“We have a lot of guys who are back on the squad that made that trip last year,” Hafeli said. “Having that in the back of our mind, finishing fifth (in the CWS), knowing we have the team that probably could have won it last year and having that bad taste in our mouth has been a key for us to keep working and finish up this year having the national championship.”

Runner-up: Tennis

Click HERE to view The Journal’s pick for ‘Best Women’s Team’

Click HERE to return to the navigation page of The Journal’s 2012-2013 Athletic Awards

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