Spartans square up Thunderhawks right off the bat

Baseball wins season opener 15-1 after 11-run second inning


Gabby Shaul

Senior Derek Fender eyes the ball moments after a pitch against Grand Rapids at the NBC Spartan Sports Complex baseball field April 5. Superior scored 11 runs in the second inning to propel them to a 15-1 victory in the season opener.

By Gabby Shaul, Print Editor

The baseball team’s season opener on Friday evening against the Grand Rapids Thunderhawks ended with a successful score of 15-1. Though the Thunderhawks scored first in the top of the second inning, the runs started to rack up for the Spartans in the bottom of same inning with an 11 runs.

The starting pitcher for the Spartans was senior Derek Fender, who vocalized how nice it was to get back outside and on the field since the weather had lightened up in favor of spring sports teams like this one.

“Getting back on the field for the first time… once the snow cleared off the field, it was really nice to get out here. This first game was just a blast,” Fender said.

His thoughts on the team’s performance that day were positive nonetheless, stating that they had collectively done well batting by being able to notice good pitches and square the ball up.

Superior head coach Don Dembroski was very proud of the game’s outcome as well as the players’ performance. Though he recognized players such as Fender who were able to show a lot of commitment in this particular game, he was pridefully unable to choose any certain individuals who stood out due to their combined effort as a team.

“I think almost every guy scored in the second inning. You know it’s hard to label the team as having one or two main players… it’s a team effort,” Dembroski said.

Grand Rapids head coach Bill Kinnunen, shared Fender’s enthusiasm toward playing a game outside for the first time this season. According to Kinnunen, the Thunderhawks had their first time practicing outside just the day before in a parking lot, and appreciated playing Superior for their first game out in the open air.

“We like to come here right off the bat because we know Superior’s gonna be ready to play because they’ve got this beautiful facility, and we find out what we need to work on. So that’s good for us to come here… it helps us tremendously,” Kinnunen said.

Both head coaches enjoyed the game and the opportunity to get their players on the field to pitch their talent and passion for the sport. It was exhilarating for the coaches, managers, and fans to see the Spartans do so well against Grand Rapids.

“We expected the boys to play hard and compete, but to beat a good Grand Rapids program 15-1 was unexpected,” Dembroski said.

The conclusion of the event left both teams with a great first impression of the season to come. And by the results of this first game, it seems that the Spartans will take a swing at the challenges they will face this year with their eyes on the ball.

Superior starts the season 1-0 and will host Northwestern on Monday. The Spartans will then play the Duluth East Greyhounds at home on Tuesday before hosting the fifth annual Ron Orlandi Invitational tournament Friday and Saturday.