The first two weekends in the conference gave us splits. From the staff
standpoint we felt like we were getting close, but not where we would have liked
to be. Vermont came to town, and we opened with a big win on Friday. We were
excited to get after it on Saturday and looking to make some noise.
Saturday turned out to be a disaster, and we were swept at home. The ride
home after a home sweep is ruthless. You think about how you let the day unravel
so fast. I forgot that is was Vermont and with them, we needed to do a better
job of masking our signs.
Their offense is predicated on stealing signs, whether it be from the bases,
the dugout or the coaches’ box. We should have learned, but it was our own
fault. They came out on Sunday and put it to us one more time to leave us with a
sour taste in our mouths.. We stood at 5-7 in the conference and were headed
north to Maine, which has not been a friendly place for me as a coach.
Ten years ago I remember facing “Oil Can” Boyd when he pitched for the Bangor
Blue Ox in Maine. That was my first experience in Orono. Since those times, the
Black Bears have had me in a headlock in conference play - 2-13 overall and 2-9
in Orono made the future look bleak.
On Friday, we came out and played flawless and reached win No. 6 in
conference play. More importantly, we let the Bears know we were going out
kicking and screaming. Saturday proved to be exciting with an extra-inning win
in the first and a 12-4 loss in the nightcap. It was a long day, and the Maine
faithful spent the day remembering Larry Mahaney who is one of their strongest
supporters. It was a time to reflect back for me during the long day.
I had always dreaded going to Maine because of their strong baseball teams
and the 7-hour ride after the series. However in 2006, the ride home would not
Sunday saw a freshman hop out of the bullpen for the second time on the
weekend, and he brought life with him. He threw five innings on Saturday to
quiet the best hitting team in our conference, and on Sunday he calmly took the
ball with our team trailing and served for seven more innings. The day belonged
to him, and once he got the pill, things turned for our team. The energy in the
dugout was heightened, and the balance of power on the diamond had shifted. We
strung together a couple of rallies and when the final out was made, the team
spilled onto the field..
great accomplishment for a young team, and a strong sense of life for our
program. We were heading for a long ride, but there will be some singing for
sure. That is what college baseball is all about. The sad, disappointing rides
are always present. However, the times of joy when 19-year-old kids sing
together like they are in kindergarten is special. It puts a smile on your face
and gives you something you need to feel alive. CONFIDENCE.
Stony Brook comes in this week, and I know they will be well prepared. They
have one of the best coaches in the country in Matt Senk, and his record speaks
for itself. I have become friends with Matt, and understand that he is an expert
at being a sports psychologist. The Seawolves are respected as is any who walk
into the dogpound for a series.
It’s nice to be off the mat and feel life again. The team is running high on
confidence, which is a good thing to have at this time of year.
We have shifted our goals since our early-season struggle, and it’s paid
dividends thus far. The wife is due next Thursday with my first boy. I think
about him often when I watch the boys run on and off the field. Try to remember
- they are boys…They will make mistakes…they will feel like crap about it…And
sometimes they may even grab a bear by the neck…