Eastfield opens World Series with a vengeance

The Eastfield Harvester Bees walk onto the Pioneer Park field to practice for the World Series in Greenville, Tennessee.

RORY MOORE, Photo Editor

The Eastfield Harvester Bees have won 13 games in a row heading into the 2023 NJCAA Division III World Series. They will start the tournament Saturday where they left off last year, facing the Herkimer Generals.

The No. 2-seeded Harvesters (45-11) will open the double-elimination tournament with a rematch against the No. 7-seeded Generals (38-7) at 11:45 a.m. at Pioneer Park in Greenville, Tennessee.  Herkimer beat Eastfield twice last year to claim the championship.

Eastfield coach Michael Martin said the Generals look like one of the most talented teams in the field again.

“They’ve got some good kids with some pretty good batting averages,” he said. “I think their team’s built a lot like it was last year, and there’s some guys that are going to be able to hit and get on base and try to put pressure on you.”

We gotta get some revenge on these guys.

— Eastfield pitcher Nick Lozano

Martin feels optimistic about his team’s chances as they enter the World Series.

“Our last couple of games against Richland, we tended to run-rule those guys and gave up one run in one game and three in the other,” Martin said. “If we go into a game and we give up one, two, three runs a game, we’re winning those ballgames.”

Statistically, Eastfield is ranked fifth in the nation in hits (587), fourth in runs (555) and second in home runs (75), with a team batting average of .334. 

Nick Lozano will be pitching in the opening game against Herkimer with extra motivation.

“We gotta get some revenge on these guys,” he said. “They have a couple of lefties, and I know that I need to have a good changeup.”

While Lozano was with the team last year, he could not play due to an injury. Lozano is 3-0 this season with two saves and a 3.68 ERA.

“I’m grateful to get this opportunity,” Lozano said. “This year, I’m ready. I’m able to come back and get ready to try my best.”

Sophomore Angel Rodriguez, who ranks third in the nation in RBI (81) and sixth in runs scored (148), said he is looking forward to the rematch with Herkimer.

I feel like if we’re gonna ask for someone to play for the first game, it should be them.

— Eastfield infielder Angel Rodriguez

“I think it’s gonna be fun,” he said. “It kind of lit everybody up. I feel like if we’re gonna ask for someone to play for the first game, it should be them.”

Rodriguez attributes the strength of the Eastfield offense to the team’s pitching, which is ranked second in the nation in shutouts with 10.

“When the pitching is clicking and knowing that guys up there are battling, it definitely sparks the offense for us,” he said. “As soon as we know that [Lozano is] out there battling, we’re gonna definitely go out there and battle for him.”

Rodriguez said the key to winning the championship is to have everybody on the team dialed in and know what they are fighting for.

“If we all go up there and have a pretty similar approach to the game, then there should be no reason why we ever lose,’ he said. “We’re a great ballclub.”


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