Batter Up: Baseball planning to build on last year’s momentum as season opens

By Mari Pothier |
Photos by Phillip C. Sunkel IV

After being picked to finish sixth in the Peach Belt Conference, head coach David Barnett of the men’s baseball team was flattered, but knows it’s the results at the end of the season that really count.

Last season, Barnett said the Saints were chosen to finish 10th in the Peach Belt and ended up rounding out the season in sixth place. They finished 29-23 overall and 14-10 against Peach Belt teams.

“It’s a credit to our team for what we did last year, because that’s voted on by the coaches and we can’t even vote for our own team,” Barnett said.

This season, he said the team’s first goal is to qualify for the Peach Belt Conference tournament. Once that is accomplished he hopes to win the tournament, which has now changed to a double elimination process. Last season, the conference tournament used a single elimination process.

Barnett said his team this season has no superstars, but is filled with a lot of really good ball players. Strengths should come from the offensive line-up and pitching.

With the Peach Belt being a tough baseball conference, Barnett said his team has to always be prepared.

“You have to show up ready to play each weekend,” Barnett said.

After losing many players last year, including Cale Owen and Zach Bove, Barnett has faith that his team can succeed. He credits Max Rusch and Micah Kellogg, both transfer students, with solid pitching, and Justin McKenna and Evan Grandizio as great hitters.

“Everybody has to be ready to play every day,” he said.

After working hard and practicing throughout the year, Barnett said the team is excited to start the season.

“The greatest day in baseball is opening day,” Barnett said.

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