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“They truly define a team”: St. Olaf Baseball secures regular-season MIAC title


Players rush onto the pitch, hugging each other and jumping up and down, celebrating their win in the first game of the day. At the center, the coaches smile as a crowd cheers on in pure pride and joy. The win cements their Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) regular-season championship. 


The 12-1 victory against Hamline University confirmed that the St. Olaf Baseball team won the MIAC regular season title after clinching a portion of it by beating Carleton College in two games on April 27. 


“We’ve come to play every day. Whether it’s the preseason games down in Florida or conference games here, the guys always show up ready to go,” Head Coach Matt McDonald ’88 said in an interview with The Olaf Messenger. 


Even as I spoke to McDonald, the team rallied for their second game of the afternoon, still keeping up their hard work after securing the regular season title. 


“They’re already talking about game two out there,” McDonald said, smiling out of pride for the team that continues to push through the playoffs. “They’ll keep playing hard.”


He is proud of the team’s persistence throughout the season and of their winning the championship during a year of tough competition. 


“The league is pretty even across the board. There’s no easy wins,” McDonald said. “Our guys just all year long have worked really hard and played together. They don’t care who gets the credit. They truly define a team.”


The players who spoke to The Olaf Messenger credit their wins to their attitude and to a sense of confidence and assurance instilled in them from the head coach, assistant coaches, captains, and every player. 


For the class of 2024, clinching the regular season title has been rewarding. The seniors on the team have been aiming to win a title since their first game, a night game at an empty U.S. Bank Stadium. Starting in the fall of 2020 meant that the team rarely played, though they maintained their rigorous weightlifting and practice schedule in addition to testing frequently for COVID-19.


“Finally seeing the results come through from all that hard work and sacrifice that we had to put in, especially it coming in our last year, is kinda the cherry on top,” Joey Glampe ’24 said. His fellow team captains at the interview agreed. 


“It’s just been really rewarding because even though in the last couple years we haven’t gotten the results we wanted… all the hard work practicing and lifting and stuff really seemed like it was worthwhile,” Sam Lavin ’24 said.


Lavin credits dedication as a deciding factor in their MIAC regular season wins. “The amount of time and hours and intensity we put in in the weight room with our strength coach,” Lavin said. “It was just a phenomenal job in the fall and winter for the whole team. The focus and attention to detail — I feel like it’s been on a new level this year.”


Glampe emphasized the dedication to teamwork, crediting fellow captain Lavin as a major factor in maintaining the energy. “Sam’s definitely taken a lead role as a guy that everyone looks up to,” he said. “The guy works harder than anyone you’ll ever meet, and I think that kind of sets a precedent. Seeing how much Sam wants to win makes everyone want to win that much more. Everyone has each other’s back.”


“We go into every game expecting to win. This team showed up and competed every day regardless of who we were playing,” Brian Nevin ’24 said. 


“We’re still having fun — that might be the biggest part. Even when we’re done, we’re like, ‘Okay, we got this,’” Lavin said. “It’s not like we’re tightening up and stressing because that’s when you don’t perform.”


Looking back at the season, the team feels proud that they were able to win the MIAC regular season title for the first time since 2007. As the playoffs start, the players look forward to playing on a professional field against solid competitors. 


“What would be the ultimate goal is to win the MIAC championship and then go to Regionals and see what we could do there,” Nevin said. “I think if we play our brand of baseball there’s not really anybody that can beat us, so [we’re] just making sure that we bring our A-game to the next couple of games.”


Following a loss to Hamline University and both a win and a loss to Saint John’s University, the team enters the playoffs with a 27-12 season record.

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