Tartans Play on Senior Day
By BRENDAN MACNABB
April 29, 2012
The Tartans finished off the season with a three game series against Penn St. and on Sunday honored the team's graduating seniors. Unfortunately, the depleted Tartans were swept in the series. The team's two seniors this season were Bennet Poepping and Luke Whitestone.
Bennet Poepping was the captain for the Tartans this past year, and was the heart and soul of the team for even longer. He led the team through the fall 2011 season, which was the most successful in team history. He was the team's ace pitcher and spent time at first base and behind the plate. He did whatever the team needed from him. He deserved better based on his contributions to the team, but had some bad luck, including tearing his miniscus, which caused him to miss time while he recovered from the surgery, and limited what he could do when he came back. Bennet was sorely missed by the team this past season.
For Luke Whitestone, his time on the baseball team started with assistant coach Rege Kiliany calling him Alani while catching fly balls in practice in right field one day. To this day, nobody knows why Rege called Luke Alani, but the nickname stuck. Luke went to every practice and put in the maximum effort every time, even when he was not getting as much playing time as he would have hoped, the mark of a true team player. During his time on the team, Luke played the game the right way, and always showed improvement from one day to the next because of the dedication and the work that he put into his game. The team honored Luke by making him the captain for the final game of the season. After the game Luke game the team the everlasting wisdom that lies in the quote, "It's all chicken including the bone."
Game 1: Penn St. 10, CMU 1
Brian Saravia had one of his best days for the Tartans as he crushed a double into the right center field gap and later scored the team's only run. Apart from Sandals, however, the team was flat in the cold rain. Brendan MacNabb pitched a complete game in the loss, and only gave up one solid hit all day, but the Penn St. hitters kept working the count, putting the ball in play, and getting good breaks.
Game 2: Penn St. 13, CMU 2
Sandles kept playing well through the second game, in which he had a hit and a stolen base. Jon Tan had a hit and two more steals, finishing with 11 on the season. He and Adam Gruber scored the team's two runs. Luke Whitestone reached base for the final time as a Tartan on a walk in the second inning while playing a solid right field. Daniel Stoll pitched well early on, but hurt his throwing arm during the second inning had had to come out of the game. Kyle Woltersdorf pitched well in relief, but the Tartans just could not muster enough offense.
Game 3: Penn St. 11, CMU 1
Adam Gruber singled and scored the Tartans' only run of the game in the fourth inning. Mike Terrick should consider contracting mononucleosis again because the end of his hot streak coincided with his getting better. Evan Fisch played in all three games over the weekend for the second series in a row coming off of knee surgery. He got his first ever start in left field in the third game after being the designated hitter in each of the two Saturday games. Dan Stoll gritted out a tough game at third base and made one particularly nice play to end the third inning, despite having an injured throwing arm from the day before. Brendan MacNabb gave up just one earned run in three and a third innings, while setting new single season records for strikeouts and innings pitched, before being taken out of the game. He pitched well enough to keep the game close but got no love from the umpires. Jon Tan then came in from center field to make his much anticipated pitching debut. The fans in attendance were reminded of the days when recent team Hall of Fame inductee Joe Seymour would be brought in from center to pitch. The Tanimal pitched very well in relief, but also was getting as many corners as a tennis ball from the umpire. This was the final game as a Tartan for graduating senior Luke Whitestone. Brian Ferri was the team's best hitter on the day, going 2-2 with a pair of singles.
Thanks to all of the players who made the effort to show up to every practice, and to the core group who attended every game, especially these past two series. Much recognition should go to Joe Barbish, who stepped up and was excellent behind the plate for the entire season, and saved the 2012 incarnation of the team. Also Brian Saravia, Brian Ferri, Luke Whitestone, and Mike Terrick all had breakout seasons for the Tartans. Brendan MacNabb pitched (what some would say) a ridiculous number of innings because there was nobody else at times. Adam Gruber played the entire left side of the infield at gold glove level. Daniel Stoll pitched well, and was willing to play on Sunday despite having a bum arm. Finally, Evan Fisch worked his hindquartes off for 7 months despite separate knee and elbow injuries and was a huge part of the team over the last six games of the season.