A few weeks ago we held our annual Black vs. Gold World Series here at Appalachian that marked the end to our fall season. The Black team made a statement with a 3-0 sweep of the Gold team, led by World Series MVP, sophomore shortstop Dillon Dobson. You baseball fans are going to want to remember that name because you are going to be hearing it for a long time.
With the calendar flipping to the month of November, fall ball season has officially ended and we are less than 100 days away from the start of our season. Practice hours are beginning to be cut down, which means we are diving into our extensive weight-training program with our strength coach, Coty Greene. The man is crazy and pushes our bodies to extreme limits. But all throughout he constantly reminds us that this is part of what it takes to win a championship.
As we transition from our practice and condition schedules into our strength training, one thing will remain the same – our team’s willingness and desire to get better every single day. Whether it’s being in the weight room before anyone else on campus is awake or the long days spent on the field perfecting our craft, we are making sure we are ready for the challenges that a college baseball schedule brings. There is a saying that gets thrown around here when things start getting tough and that is “find a way.” There are times when doubt starts to creep in and your mind is telling you that you can’t do it but, as every athlete knows, it’s all about pushing through.
Our head coach Billy Jones stresses dedication and perfection and he has his own special ways of getting it out of each one of us. He knows his players and what drives them specifically but, more importantly, how he can get each individual to maximize their ability.
With a mixed group of new guys and returners, what has made this group so special is that every single person as made the decision to “buy in” to what we are trying to accomplish here at Appalachian.
When February 14th rolls around we will be taking on the University of Arkansas to open up our 2014 season. That opening series is only the beginning to our challenging schedule that starts out with us playing 20 of our first 24 games on the road, with 13 of those games coming against SEC, ACC or Big Ten opponents that include Tennessee, UNC-Chapel Hill, NC State, Notre Dame and Michigan.
Never before has Appalachian baseball seen such a challenging schedule and I can promise you that in many of those games no one will give us a chance. But what I love about the game of baseball is that anyone can win on any given day. You see it all the time, at every level of the game. You can see the anticipation building on our players’ faces as the season approaches, knowing the test that is ahead of us only drives us more to prove that we can play with anyone. Our coaches believe it and our players believe it, what we are working to do is make sure that everyone else in the country believes it as well.
Playing for the dogpile.