The Grand Valley State University COVID-19 alert level dropped to one in March, but for student-athletes, that doesn’t always mean their seasons are in the clear. Due to an outbreak at Purdue-Northwest University, the GVSU baseball team’s four-game series scheduled for April 2-4 was postponed.
“(The postponement) is very frustrating,” said senior pitcher Nick Shaw. “We work so hard day in and day out and we just want to play games. I’m used to things changing, I try not to think about it, (but) it’s pretty tough. Just when you think you’re out of (COVID-19), it comes back. It’s so frustrating.”
Coming off of seven wins in their past 10 games, the team’s momentum is not slowing down despite the setback last week.
“Our mindset is to make sure we continue to work and move forward at a championship pace,” Detillion said. “There’s no taking our foot off of the gas. We’re going at the right pace to prepare to go on a run.”
With their overall record at 15-7 so far this season, the key to getting the players to buy into the system has been seeing results show up in games and continued progression.
“Every day we see the progress, we do the things we work for and see that in games,” Detillion said. “When the results are there, buying in is easy; working so we can see success sooner than later. There’s so much adversity in our way, but we just make the best of it. We push game speed and adversity so (the players) can be prepared for it come game time.”
Shaw was one of the biggest contributing factors to their hot start this season. In his inaugural season as the closer pitcher, he’s posting eye-popping statistics. His nearly 22 strikeouts per nine innings put him near the top of all of DII in K/9 among closers. Despite this, Shaw said the strikeouts don’t mean much.
“It’s a great honor to close games,” Shaw said. “I’m being relied on to close out the wins. I only pitch one or two innings, so I try to pound the zone and suffocate the hitters. I try to make hitters uncomfortable and close out the games.”
Moving forward from the postponement, the team has a big slate of games this upcoming week. On April 5, the team hosts Lewis University in a double-header as their last non-conference game before GLIAC games begin this coming weekend.
“Everything is a building block, whether it be a game or practice,” Detillion said. “We’re not content; we want to win every day and continue to build momentum.”
To close out the week full of games, the team will travel to Northwood University for a three-game slate April 8-10. After dropping three of four games to the Timberwolves last season, Detillion says the team is not focused on getting revenge.
“We need to play the best we can, there’s no revenge factor,” Detillion said. “(Northwood) winning three of four doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter who’s in the opposing dugout, we need to play as well as we can to win our conference.”