May 3, 2010
It's been a While
It has been a while since the last blog, and there has been a lot of baseball played since then. I think I left off when we were just about to embark on a nine-game road trip. I know I have talked about our season being divided up into three or four sections and we have entered into the stretch run. The road is always tough, and when you play as much as we did over the last few weeks, you really find out about your team. I am a firm believer that a long road stretch tells you about what type of team you have and how they can adjust and adapt to things. This team went 8-1 over that stretch and I really think they learned a lot about baseball and each other. We finally got back home this past weekend and got three wins in conference against UNC Asheville.
I usually talk in all my blogs about the games and the plays or players that have stood during the course of the week or weeks. I don't think I am going to do that this week. I am going to talk about this whole team. This group of kids has walked into this season and has taken every challenge that has been thrown at them. Everyone said we had a tough opening schedule and they just showed up and played. Then they heard that the conference is not that tough and three of the teams have been ranked at some point this year. One team may have one of the best pitchers in the country and they have just showed up and played. No matter whom the opponent is they have come to the ballpark ready to go. They have not won all of the games, but they gave us everything they had for nine innings every single game this year. There have been a lot of great players that have come through this program and there will be a lot more in the future (If Kevin and I do our jobs recruiting, just kidding). These guys just play; they find ways to get things done. It may not always be pretty, and that's the best part about baseball. There is no computer ranking you on how bad you beat someone; it just matters if you win. That's what this group has done - they have found ways to win. If we don't hit, we pitch. If we don't pitch, we hit. If we don't play defense, we find a way to get it done. They have picked each other up this whole season. Don't get me wrong, we still have a long way to go before we have accomplished anything. These next three weekends are the biggest of the season. Winthrop and Coastal is a huge rivalry and we play them at home. It is our last home games for a great group of seniors. Then we travel to Liberty, who is right on our tail and could change the standings over one weekend. We finish with a tough trip to a good Radford team. This is truly the toughest part of our schedule. I know our guys will be prepared; they have been this whole season. I think they embrace it. They like to have that chip on their shoulder. They want to earn everything this season. We always talk about deserving it over wanting it. Have we done everything today to deserve what we really want? I hope that whoever reads this blog will come out this weekend for our seniors. It is a huge weekend anyway because we play Winthrop, but this team is a special group, and they deserve everything they have worked for over these last four or five years.
I have really enjoyed doing this blog during the season. I know I have missed a couple of weeks, but being on the road makes it difficult to sit down and put your thoughts together. There are a couple of people that I have left out of this over the course of the season and I wanted to mention them this week. Bryan Paar and my man Souza, and their entire game management staff deserve a huge Thank You. They make our jobs as coaches easy. They take care of every little detail that a lot of people don't see, from game balls to towels being ready for the other team; they take care of all the small stuff. It is big stuff for us because we don't have to worry about it, and we can just coach. Thanks, Paar and Souza as we would not have the success we have had without you and the rest of your staff.
There is still along way to go in this season and I know this team is looking forward to the next couple of weeks. We have finals this week and a much deserved couple of days off for our guys. They can focus on finishing the semester and then they can just focus on playing baseball.
I would also like to send out a huge congrats to the Army lacrosse team. My buddy Murph is the assistant there. In my last blog, I wished them luck against Navy in the regular season matchup and they won. Well yesterday they beat Navy again for the Patriot League Championship and are going to the NCAA Tournament. It is the first League title in school history and against Navy makes it the best part.
In the immortal words of the Grateful Dead "What a long strange trip it's been". I am glad to be home.