April 01, 2023

Spartans baseball on seven-game win streak

The Spartans baseball team (7-5) has already logged more victories in 12 games than they had last year in 45. Four of the team’s five losses came at the hands of Johnson County Community College, a nationally-ranked team.

“It was a great test for our guys out of the gate,” head coach Chris Piperno said. “We were in two of the four games against a top-ranked team. They got to see the work they put in slowly play off.”

The team faced Fort Scott Community College the last weekend in February. While they lost in a narrow 5-4 game, they came back to win the next three.

“The guys came to practice every day with more of a purpose,” Piperno said. “We went, executed and played hard.”

Last weekend, the team did something the Spartans haven’t seen in more than a decade — a four-game sweep.

SWCC shut out Metropolitan Community College 5-2, 8-3, 6-2 and 11-10.

“They were super excited,” Piperno said. “It was a really good challenge for us. We needed to continue the things that lead us to success the weekend before. We talk about staying focused and locked in to things that matter to us. Our guys did a tremendous job of keeping that focus and keeping that game plan.”

Moving forward, the Spartans’ schedule provides several chances to face several conference opponents prior to conference play.

“It’ll be a good test to see where we’re at with some ICACC competition,” Piperno said. “Then we can see where we need to go when we start conference.”

Saturday’s double-header against Ellsworth Community College and Sunday’s double-header against Indian Hills Community College were canceled due to impending weather, but plan to be reand Wednesday they play Iowa Central Community College.

Following those games will be SWCC’s home opener, Saturday, March 18 against Dakota County Technical College.

Impact Players

The Spartans returned 12 players, 32 of their 44 players are freshmen.

All-region third baseman Eric Bello returns to the lineup with a .433 batting average this season. He’s logged 10 RBIs, 15 runs, 7 forced outs and 18 assists.

Sophomore catcher Alex Fascia has had 20 outs and an assist already this season.

“Brock Wallace, Yariel Colon and Connor Richards, they’re all battle tested,” Piperno said of the three sophomores. “They know what it takes to win in this area, and have been mentoring our 32 freshman. Those guys have done a tremendous job.”

Sophomore pitcher Jacob Ciafullo also returns to the lineup.

The host of incomers brought several impact players forward. “Our shortstop, Jesus Riera, against Johnson County he finished hitting above .350,” Piperno said. “He’s been the heartbeat of our team. Our guys rally around him. It’s been a great addition.”

Rivera has a .422 batting average, and has logged 14 runs, 11 RBIs, four home runs and six stolen bases on offense. On defense, he’s had 11 outs and 24 assists.

“Weston Barber, our second basemen, is steady,” Piperno said. “You always know what you’re going to get with him.”

The freshman infielder has had 17 outs and 16 assists on 33 chances.

Freshmen pitchers, Colin Boynton, Ben Amador and Isaiah Faudoa all competed for three straight weekends on the mound.

“There are so many other young guys making an impact on the field,” Piperno said.

Cheyenne Roche


Originally from Wisconsin, Cheyenne has a journalism and political science degree from UW-Eau Claire and a passion for reading and learning. She lives in Creston with her husband and their two little dogs.