Clark’s baseball team is 11-6 in its last 17 games, as of April 17 . The team was 11-3 overall before April 9 but have since experienced a four game losing streak.
The Penguins’ focus on team cohesion instead of winning is the reason for the auspicious mid season, pitcher Grant Fisher said.
The biggest change in the baseball team’s collective mentality has been eliminating the “cancers in the clubhouse,” Fisher said.
“That’s someone who may be an ‘I’ guy. They’re more focused on what they’re doing than the team. They don’t respect authority,” Fisher said.
Center fielder Charles Clark Jr. mirrored Fisher’s comments. “I think the fact that we’ve been able to check our egos at the door and play as a team–I think that’s the biggest asset.”
For the Penguins, creating a more united team begins long before the season, starting with fall boot camp. At times the players would practice for three weeks without a day off.
“Our fall training camp is where we build our team cohesiveness,” head coach Mark Magdaleno said. “One of the most underrated things about a baseball team is the atmosphere in the clubhouse. Our clubhouse is healthy.”
Magdaleno began his career at Clark five weeks into last season. He now has the entirety of the season to build the atmosphere in the clubhouse.
Despite a focus on team cohesion, the Penguins are 3-5 in the NWAC South putting them behind Linn-Benton, Chemeketa and Lane College.
Clark is optimistic, yet levelheaded about the Penguins’ chances of winning the NWAC South Region.
“We’re really just trying to put one foot in front of the other and just keep it pushing,” Clark said. “We like to be happy that we’re on a win streak and we’re winning, but we’re not trying to look behind us too long because then we’ll get hit in the face and we won’t keep it going.
The Penguins’ next home game is scheduled for Saturday, against NWAC rivals, the Chemeketa Storm.