The Quakers did not start the ‘21 campaign in glamorous fashion. Guilford’s baseball team began its 2021 campaigns on March 13, getting swept by Shenandoah University with scores of 10-2 and 6-2.
Starting the ODAC season off with a total loss was not on the agenda for the Quaker’s baseball team. However, some highlights could be noted regarding the weekend’s events. One of those highlights was first-year shortstop Michael Sumner. Sumner made his collegiate debut over the weekend, going 1-3 on the weekend with solid contact in all three ABs.
“My travel organization sent out tape to Guilford and I ended up drawing some interest before ultimately coming on a visit,” Sumner stated, commenting on his initial recruitment. “From the second I stepped onto campus, I instantly fell in love with the school and knew that this would be my future home.”
This love for both the campus and baseball was why Sumner was disappointed regarding the progression of the baseball team during the fall and winter months.
“I was really disappointed,” he stated. “I came in with the mentality of having a strong work ethic and having a deep passion for the game, and when I saw other teams in the conference being able to practice throughout the off-season while we were heavily restricted, it really made me feel a strong sense of disappointment in regards to what we were able to do.”
This is why Sumner’s collegiate debut this weekend was especially exciting for him, not only as his first game as a Quaker, but also as a way for him to once again celebrate his love for baseball.
“We got to the park and as soon as the lineup was put up I went to check,” Sumner recalled. “(My) name was in the nine-slot playing shortstop. Instantly butterflies started hitting my stomach and in the first inning I was really nervous, but after that my instincts took over and I was thrilled to be out there.”
However, Sumner wouldn’t be here without some of his older peers who have impacted his baseball journey throughout the year.
“A guy who I’ve really learned from is Sam Mennit,” he said, referring to a senior member of the baseball team. “He’s taught me a lot about how to handle the game on and off the field and he’s been a definite positive role model for me.”
Despite Guilford’s loss in their first game, Sumner remains positive regarding the hope of Guilford and the team’s skills.
“Shenandoah has a really good squad,” he commented. “They’re always near the top of the ODAC and they flat out hit us. I thought we played okay, but they simply beat us.”
Guilford’s upcoming weekend series will take place against Randolph-Macon, a college that is ranked 11th in the nation. Many players, including Sumner, are excited to face this challenge.
“This week in practice as a team, we are going to hammer the defensive part of the game,” he said. “We made it very hard on ourselves this weekend with the amount of errors, walks and hit batters. I think we are a talented team and if we can commit to doing the little things right, and bringing energy every single day I believe we can compete with any team in the ODAC.”
Sumner’s statements not only represent the positive morale of Guilford’s athletes despite the unusual circumstances, but also inspire hope within every single one of the College’s many sports fans. 2021’s spring baseball season is atypical of previous years, but can still undoubtedly be enjoyed by many, as our athletes face opposing teams with the spirit of positive inspiration.