Shepherdstown, W.Va., – After winning 10 of their 11 games in the 2020 season, it was sad to see the Shepherd University baseball team’s season end early due to the Covid-19 pandemic in the first year of playing in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC).
However, the Rams have made their name in the PSAC for the 2021 season. Sitting at a 13-7 record and a 11-7 record in conference play of the 2021 season, the Rams are third in the PSAC East division and are prime position to make a strong push to the top of the standings. Winning eleven of their past thirteen games, the Rams are officially hot and with the season halfway finished the playoffs are right around the corner.
Starting the season with a 2-5 record, it’s safe to say the Rams weren’t playing their best ball. When asked how the season is going so far, senior pitcher Trevor Sprinkle says the season is going very well. “Our team is starting to heat up and win a lot of baseball games. We got off to somewhat of a slow start and now we are red hot.”
Senior third baseman Joey Goldsmith agrees with Sprinkle on starting slow and being hot as of late. Goldsmith says that in the beginning of the season the Rams were, “still finding ourselves as a team” but now winning the first two road games at nationally ranked #21 Millersville with two home games left to play in the series, the Rams are clicking.
Similar to last year, the Rams have gone on a hot streak and hopefully Covid-19 doesn’t affect them any further.
Covid-19 is still a threat in 2021 and with that has come many restrictions, cancellations, testing, testing, and more testing.
How has Covid-19 affected the Rams? Sprinkle and Goldsmith both say that the team gets tested every week, are required to wear masks at the field as well as any facility on campus, and have a week of games cancelled due to positive cases earlier in the year. This year at the games everyone in attendance is required to wear a mask. To sit in the stands people need to have tickets requested by a player, each player can request two tickets to give to their family members.
The spectator process is much different from any other year in college sports as people have been able to enjoy going to games without worrying about catching a virus or social distancing. Situations such as last year will make a person appreciate being able to play sports as well as living the lives they did before Covid-19 took over the world.
This season is quite different too, but some other differences come from the new group of guys on the team as well as older leadership from this years baseball team compared to last year’s team.
Sprinkle says this year’s team has an edge because there is more leadership than last year. “With so many older guys our team really functions in a different manner than it did last year.”
The Rams have 16 seniors, seven of them seniors returning and using their Covid-19 year of eligibility. Despite being able to only travel on the road with 31 guys, that older presence can have a significant effect on a team.
Goldsmith says, “I think this year’s group of guys are very talented and make each other better by competing at practice and in games…I also think we have very good team chemistry.” With their older leadership, accountability, and team chemistry, the Rams have a lot of things going for them so far this season.
Shepherd has 15 games left before the playoffs start and are sitting behind Shippensburg in second place and West Chester in first place. If the Rams were to finish in first, they could have home field advantage throughout the playoffs.
There’s a lot to enjoy when talking about or watching the Rams play but it’ll be exciting to see how the season ends in hopes of bringing home a championship. After the two-game home series against Millersville on Monday, April 12th, the Rams play a doubleheader at Lock Haven on Friday, April 16th at 12:00 p.m. and play a double header at home on Saturday, April 17th starting at 12:00 PM.