Drew Slade delivers a pitch last season. Slade, who figures to be Ripon’s No. 1 pitcher, is hoping to bounce back after a rough junior season.
Drew Slade delivers a pitch last season. Slade, who figures to be Ripon’s No. 1 pitcher, is hoping to bounce back after a rough junior season.

   When the Ripon College Red Hawk baseball team made an error last season, it always seemed to snowball into a big inning.

   The Red Hawks hope a stronger focus on the mental part of the game will eliminate that this year.

   “We’ve always talked the mental game, but for the first time in my career, I’ve devoted time to it,” Ripon head coach Eric Cruise said. “And [former player and assistant] coach [Patrick] Van Daalwyk has been phenomenal with the pitching staff in regards to the discussions, the mental side of things: how we go about our business, how we handle what’s going on in between our ears and you see it.”

   Ripon also has placed an emphasis on the fundamentals, which Cruise believes is paying dividends.

   He noted, however, that the team likely will have a learning curve to go through defensively. It has almost an entirely different lineup from last season.

   The Red Hawks are slated to return only three players to positions where they were regular starters last year: junior second baseman Nick Taranto and junior catchers Michael Barnes and Riley Erickson.

   The rest of the infield to start the season will be comprised of sophomore Keegan Johnston (first base), junior and Markesan native Hector Aguinaga (shortstop) and senior Josh Oswald (third base)

Read the full story, which includes information on a potent offense, in the March 8, 2018 edition of the Ripon Commonwealth Press.