This archived article was written by: Shantel Hardy
USU Eastern’s baseball team had a heated weekend in Las Vegas, New Mexico when they played Luna Community College. They lost 5-7 and 4-5 on Friday, Feb. 21, during their double-header. The next day they lost a close one (5-6) and a won (4-3) on Saturday, Feb. 22.
Shayden Poulsen, left-handed pitcher for USU Eastern, gave the details on the weekend’s games. “It all started the first game. Our captain, Kyle Durbin, was running down to first base and the first baseman caught the ball and tagged him in the head.
“He hit him pretty hard across the head, breaking his helmet. That caused a little commotion. The first baseman reacted in a way our team didn’t like by talking smack back to us. So, that’s where it all started. From there it was just us shouting at them, them shouting at us.
“We blame it mostly on the umpires, they could have taken control of everything so much faster if they had just warned each team and put a stop to it. But they didn’t, they just let it keep going. At the time we just kept doing it.
“Looking back, the umpires should have just stopped it right there. Then we could have just focused on baseball and played a lot better, a lot of the players lost their heads in the commotion.”
The weekend fiasco didn’t stop there. Poulsen continues describing events that kept emotions running hot, “The first baseman [who hit Durbin] was up to bat and our pitcher, Derek Young, threw a curve ball that slipped and hit him in the arm.
“The first baseman [who was hitting] thought he did it on purpose and started walking towards the pitcher’s mound, but stopped. Our third baseman started to walk in and we were all yelling at him to get down the line. It kept going from there. The umpires still let it keep going.”
Poulsen’s response to the loss of their first game: “We had a heart-breaking loss. We were up in the fifth inning, 5-2, and gave up a three run homerun and ended up losing the game. That lit the fire underneath us and made us more angry.”
The umpires seemed to be preoccupied with thoughts because there was no stopping the intensity and anger of the game. “We had our coach get ejected from one game and the other teams coach ejected from one game. The umpires didn’t do much; they could have ejected a lot of people. The umpires couldn’t get control.
“It was definitely a weekend I will always remember. It was a crazy weekend of baseball. Eastern could have a new rival, if they ever play them again.”
The coaching is this year, Poulsen said, “We have a lot of coaches that actually care. They push us to strive to be better because this year we have so much potential. They want to see us succeed, which I agree with.”
Playing baseball is no easy task; a lot of hard work is involved in becoming a good team. To stay fit for the season, USU Eastern hits the gym bright and early every day. “Morning workouts—they are tough. Being a pitcher, we run a few miles and get to run with the fielders sometimes. They do more sprints and work more on agility. It’s definitely tough but I’m in the best shape of my life.”
To finish off, Poulsen had this to say about Eastern’s team, “As a team we have so much potential. Coaching can see it, we can see it, and I see the difference from last year to this year.
“This team is so good and we have all the parts, we just need to put them together. We need to have that killer mentality that losing is not an option, I believe that will happen. This team is going to do good things and I can’t wait to see where we go.”