Rice Owls Club Baseball

Owls Have Strong Showing at #WoodWars Tournament
October 24, 2016, 3:39 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

This past weekend the Owls traveled to McKinney, TX for the annual #woodwars tournament. As the official merchandise points out very clearly, this was the largest club baseball tournament ever. The Owls had only played one scrimmage against UHD and one official round of fungo golf prior to this weekend,  so this tournament provided Rice a good opportunity to play more fungo golf……and some baseball too.

The team left early Friday morning to make their 3:30 game. In the middle of a traffic jam on I45, one of the team cars ended up throwing a breakfast taco across an entire lane of traffic into Will Bower’s (‘18 Duncan) outstretched hand. After being congratulated by multiple passing cars, the team sped to McKinney to get to the fields 15 minutes before game time.

Chris Thomas (‘18 Wiess) started the first game against UH, which happened near Dallas instead of Houston for some reason. He went 5 strong innings, giving up 2 runs in the process. The team piled on run support, scoring 6 runs off clutch hits by Sanjiv Gopalkrishnan (‘17 McMurty) and Carter Taft (‘20 Wiess). The Owls won after a stressful 7th, where UH had the game-tying run on 2nd. Fortunately, Sam Zapp (‘18 McMurtry) came in to close the last two batters to win the game 6-4.

After the game, the team prepared diligently for the required “Hitter’s Swing-It Challenge” by eating fast food. Tournament director Ryan Norris spent more time talking about the tournament’s Cane’s sponsorship than how long Rice was actually in the hitter’s challenge. However, some of the team members actually showed off their hitting skills later that day, as Will Bower capped off the day with a walk-off, series winning grand slam in the hotel.

The next day featured 2 games, with the first against SMU. Despite going down early, the Owls never felt nervous. Backed by two strong innings from Daniel Russell (‘19 Will Rice), five from Lucas Cadalzo (‘17 Brown), and a homerun from Craig Broadman (‘19 McMurtry), the Owls won 8-5. The second was against SFA. After going up 8-0, Rice got a little too complacent. The SFA team came all the way back leading to a nervous inning or two, but the team was never truly worried, mainly because no one on SFA could throw a strike at the end of the game. Rice ended up winning 16-12.

After the game, Perry Goldstein (‘18 Wiess) and Pax Kaplan-Sherman (‘18 McMurtry) finished their fungo golf playoff hole. It was, unfortunately, the only game of fungo golf played this weekend and Perry won the playoff. For the first time in a long time, Pax is not leading the fungo golf leaderboards.

With a 3-0 record in pool play, Rice was guaranteed a spot to play in the top 6 on Sunday for the first time in over 4 years. In fact, Rice was ranked second in the tournament for Sunday….#thefield. For a tournament with 24 mostly D1 teams, that’s pretty good.

The team then had a nice wholesome dinner at Two Rows, where a lady forced her dog upon people and asked them to feed it while smoking in the non-smoking section of the patio. After that, the Owls played a nice wholesome game of hockey with some members pestering the NCBA Facebook #woodwars poll. Some members then went to bed and others went to waffle house, where Kimberly salesperson treated them to a nice meal with a man who looked just like Albert Einstein sitting nearby. After that calm night of rest and rejuvenation, the team was feeling ready to play on Sunday.

On Sunday, the Owls got a bye and ended up playing Colorado State. Despite some ugly defense from the team, Sam Zapp pitched seven very strong innings. The team fought hard and prayed to the rally turtle, but ended up losing the game 7-3. Colorado State ended up winning the tournament and Rice tied for third place.

Even though they lost this tournament, the Owls feel very confident going into the spring season. With conference realignment, the Owls schedule looks to be easier than last year’s. We expect to make a deep playoff run this year.

2016-2017 Fungo Golf Leaderboard

1- Will Bower, Perry Goldstein

0- Pax, everyone else


Thanks to Daniel Russell’s parents, Sanjiv’s mom, and Kenan’s parents/lady friend for providing much needed snacks and refreshments while putting up with a bunch of college kids for an entire weekend…..Welcome new team members who joined for the trip – Lucas Cadalzo, Ben Ruben, Mario Paciuc, and Carter Taft…..In an unsurprising twist, Sanjiv hurt himself running on his first hard hit of the tournament…..Chris Thomas seems to be the new ball magnet getting hit 4 times this weekend…..Losing to Colorado State is somewhat respectable. They are the Yankees of club baseball with 6 world series wins in 16 years……. Kenan always seems to play well in Dallas but no one can figure out why…..In the online FB poll, team “Other – The Field” had the second most votes as the team most likely to win #woodwars, with 13/16 votes coming from Rice team members