Coaches and members of the baseball team are flying down to Winter Haven, Florida tomorrow to open their season play.
From February 27 through March 1, the team will be playing against four teams – St. John Fisher, St. Mary’s, St. Vincent and Milwaukee School of Engineering.
“The objectives will be to go down and play as hard as we can as clean as we can and really use the first 13 games of the schedule – nonconference – to prepare for the HCAC,” head coach Lance Marshall said.
The Grizzlies’ season-opening weekend lets them see unfamiliar competition.
“It will be a nice change for the team to play against new competitors that the upperclassmen have not faced before,” Marshall said. “For us it’s a great opportunity to be on the field and to play the game.”
The men’s team will see the scout reports for the four teams before the game. Junior outfielder Jacob Troxell said that their practices have been “really focused on the team.”
Troxell said he is blessed to have played the last three years and has the opportunity to continue.
“We treat each other like family,” Troxell said. “Once you’re a part of the team, you’re basically a brother. You’ve got brothers for four years, and I think that is the coolest part.”
Stepping up into the collegiate level, freshman and left-handed pitcher Drew Naumovich said he hopes to help his new teammates win this season.
“I know for freshmen it can be harder sometimes, especially with upperclassmen playing above you, but there is always something that you can do,” Naumovich said. “Practice makes the team better and makes yourself better.”
Senior outfielder Chase Steinbrunner said he wants to appreciate his last season as a Grizzly.
“My goal is to never take a play for granted,” Steinbrunner said. “This is my last go-around, and I just want to live up to every moment of baseball I have left.”
He attributes baseball to helping him learn life lessons on and off the field, like time management and leadership skills.
Steinbrunner said he will miss the “couch crew” located at center field during home games.
“They get rowdy and loud for us and it’s a lot of good support,” Steinbrunner said.
The team is scheduled to host Albion College from Michigan in the 2016 home-opening series from March 4-5. They will begin the three-game set on Friday, March 4 at 3:30 p.m. at John P. McDowell Field. A doubleheader will follow on Saturday, March 5 starting at noon.
“We’ve got two [home games] every Saturday that we play at home,” Steinbrunner said. “It should be a good year and I’m looking forward to it.”