Vol State Pioneers ready to face off against Columbia this weekend

 

By Nick Kieser

The Volunteer State Community College Pioneers baseball team is in the midst of a five-game winning streak since beating Lake Land College, Moraine Valley Community College, and Cumberland University’s JV team.  

The 5-3 Pioneers have now made it over .500 and hope to keep their record that way.

“It feels good. Finally over .500, especially starting 0-3. Hopefully we keep this going,” said Ryan Hunt, head coach of the team.

Hunt commented on his team’s offensive play during the Feb. 20 doubleheader against Cumberland University’s JV team.

“Looking for some guys to be more consistent with the bat. We have some guys really struggling offensively, and hopefully that gets better because it’s still early,” he said.

The Pioneers did have high scoring games against Cumberland, but Hunt still thinks the game could have gone differently.

“We didn’t do what we thought we’d do. They helped us out with some errors and that’s how we scored most of the runs,” he said.

After the doubleheader, the Pioneers had won five straight games and were in fifth place in the conference.

Hunt did comment on the successful run, saying that “pitching was really [good].

“Anytime you get a couple of wins is always good. Anytime you win five in a row it feels good no matter who you are playing,” he said.

Baylor Steelman, sophomore leadoff hitter and outfielder, commented on how the nearing conference games would go.

“It’s gonna be huge. It will be hard against all conference teams. We have to go out there and give it all we got.” Baylor said. “I hope to not think too much and just hit more line drives to be a better player.”

Since the start of the 2018 season, Steelman has been the Pioneers leadoff man (the first hitter). “This is my first year that I’ve led off. I’m starting to get used to it,” said Steelman, who went 0-1 with two walks against Cumberland Feb. 20.

With the regular season in play, the positions on defense and offense have been locked up. “There’s already a few guys who have solidified their position. Still waiting on a few guys to produce with the bat,” said Hunt.

The everyday starters are still in the mix for final decisions that Coach Hunt will make, and Steelman believes he is a solidified guy where he is.

“I think I have played good enough to earn the starting spot in center field. I have to keep working hard and not lose it,” said Steelman.

The Pioneers will soon travel to Columbia State University to take on the Chargers, who are 5-6-1, as of Feb. 22. Columbia defeated Chipola College in Chipola, Florida, Sunday, Feb. 18, 12-8.

“It’ll be tough playing Columbia at their place. They just beat the preseason number one team in the country in Chipola,” said Hunt.

“It is going to be a hard fought battle, but we can win it though,” said Steelman confidently about going to Columbia.

The Pioneers will travel to Columbia this weekend, March 2-3. Three games will be played. One on Friday and two on Saturday. The games will be live streamed on The Settler’s Twitter page, @TheSettler. Friday’s game is at 2 p.m., and Saturday’s games are at noon and 2:30 p.m.