We’ve made it. Game week is finally here and my teammates and I couldn’t be more excited. In only a few days we will boarding a plane and heading to Fayetteville, Ark. to take on the University of Arkansas to open up the 2014 college baseball season. After an offseason where most of the talk consisted of our tough out-of-conference schedule, we are ready for the challenges that we will face throughout the season.
Although we lost arguably our two best hitters to the MLB Draft last year in Hector Crespo (New York Yankees) and WIll Callaway (San Francisco Giants), we welcome back a great core of players who have seen experience at the collegiate level. It will also be the first time I will take the field wearing the Black and Gold for the first time in more than 20 months (623 days to be exact).
The other excited thing about the 2014 season is the fact that my brother, Drake, and I will be teammates for the first time. We are four-and-a-half years apart in age and have always just missed out on being in the same school at the same time. The fact that I had to redshirt in what would have been my senior year last year gave us the opportunity to play together for what is his first college season and my last college season. I really can’t find the words to truly describe how great of an experience it is to play with my brother. Early last summer, Drake was diagnosed with Graves Disease, which is a hyperactive thyroid disorder. He was unable to compete with us for the first few months of the offseason and I am so proud of the way he has handled all the ups and downs that have come his way. The fact that I was able to be there for him to help him get through that tough time makes having to redshirt and come back one more year that much more worth it.
The road will be difficult and we will be tested early but all the months of conditioning and 20-hour practice weeks will finally mean something. I have seen a lot in my five years at Appalachian. From seventh-place finishes to champions of the Southern Conference and a regional runner-up, I’ve been through it all. But this year we have the chance to once again put Appalachian State back on the collegiate baseball map. I want to encourage you readers to keep up with us throughout this season. It won’t be easy and we will have our ups and downs, but the talent and desire this team has will give us the chance to do something special for our program and our university.
Playing for the dogpile.