Nick Taranto unleashes a throw to first base as he tries to turn a double play last year. Watching is Isiah Ramos. Both players return this season and will try to improve defensively.
Nick Taranto unleashes a throw to first base as he tries to turn a double play last year. Watching is Isiah Ramos. Both players return this season and will try to improve defensively.

   After not making the Midwest Conference Tournament for just the third time in 21 years last season, the Ripon College baseball team has its sights set on returning there.

   But in order to do that, Red Hawk head coach Eric Cruise knows it must learn from the past.

   “By understanding the details that prevented us from that success,” Cruise said of what his team needs to do differently. “Limiting mistakes and not letting them snowball when mistakes do happen.”

   Despite having one of the younger teams in the conference, Ripon will have a chance to do that this year as it returns many players who got their feet wet last season.

   It graduated just three players from last year’s squad — only one of whom was a starter — and has just three seniors this season.

   In addition, 21 of the 32 players are either freshmen or sophomores.

   “We are young, but the  majority of our guys were in the lineup or on the mound last year, so they do bring experience despite their youth,” Cruise said.

   The Red Hawk head coach also believes that team unity will be a strong point this season.

   “The bond they have built together as a team,” Cruise said of a strength he has noticed during practice so far. “They truly want to perform for one another."

Read the full story, which includes information about the Red Hawks' pitching and hitting, in the March 9, 2017 edition of the Ripon Commonwealth Press.