Greg Lovelady spent nine years preparing to be a head coach, but he never imagined his career would start the way it did last week.
Calling Feb. 13 “the most hectic day of my life,” Lovelady spent the afternoon trying to figure out when, where and if his Wright State baseball team would play over the weekend as he juggled cell phones, scenarios and snow shovels.
The Raiders were scheduled to travel to Cary, N.C., to open their season until a winter storm blanketed the southeast with several inches of snow and ice.
Plan B was to see if they could find a team or two to come to Nischwitz Stadium, so the players and coaches were shoveling snow into trash cans and carting them off the field while Lovelady was working the phones and weighing all options.
“Everybody was scrambling because everybody was supposed to go somewhere in the Carolinas,” Lovelady said. “I was talking to 10 or 12 different people and grabbing phone after phone because mine was about to die. There was a chance the fields could be ready down there, but they couldn’t guarantee anything. It was just so risky.”
Lovelady was able to secure the use of the field at Vanderbilt while the Commodores were playing in California, so he scheduled a three-game series against Michigan State, which also was supposed to play in Cary.
The Raiders dropped a 4-1 decision in the season opener Saturday before earning Lovelady his first victory with a 7-1 triumph in the first game of a doubleheader Sunday. The Spartans squeaked out a 2-1 win in the nightcap.
“We played well,” Lovelady said. “Michigan State just missed the NCAA Tournament last year and they have a bunch of guys back, almost their whole offense. We had a chance to win all three games, so I was very, very happy with the way the guys played and competed.
“I’d be concerned it we struck out 10 times per game, but that wasn’t the case,” he added. “Our timing was just a little off. It was overall a great experience.”
In the 7-1 triumph, senior right-handed pitcher Joey Hoelzel earned the win by allowing just one run on four hits in 7 2/3 innings, a performance that earned him the Horizon League Pitcher of the Week honor.
Hoelzel struck out three and didn’t walk a batter while also coming up with a key defensive play to snuff out a Spartans rally after they had closed to within 4-1.
The team will be in California this weekend for three games against three teams ranked in the top 30. The Raiders faced California-Irvin on Friday, Long Beach today and Arizona State on Sunday.
POW pair: Two members of the Wright State women’s basketball team earned player of the week honors for their performances in a 103-91 victory against Illinois-Chicago on Feb. 15.
The Horizon League honored junior guard Tay’ler Mingo, who scored a season-high 25 points by going 9 of 19 from the field, including 1 of 2 from 3-point range, and 8 of 12 from the free throw line. She also had nine assists, six rebounds and five steals.
Meanwhile, College Sports Madness named junior guard Kim Demmings the HL Player of the Week for a 31-point performance against the Flames.
Demmings also was 9 of 19 from the floor, including 3 of 7 from long range, and hit 10 of 12 free throws to go along with three assists and two rebounds. The 31 points tied her season high before she broke it with 36 in a 92-78 victory at Oakland on Tuesday.
The Raiders have won four of their last five to improve to 19-7 overall and 8-3 in the HL, which has them tied for second with Cleveland State, just one half game behind Wisconsin-Green Bay.
Harriers honored: The WSU men’s and women’s cross country teams have been named All-Academic teams by the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.
The men’s team had a composite GPA of 3.40, while the women’s GPA was 3.36.