Cooney has spent 20 seasons as head coach at Florida Atlantic University. He has
compiled more than 700 victories with the Owls and more than 850 wins in his
24-year career as a head coach. Cooney has
spent the past five seasons offering his thoughts on baseball - and other
things - for CollegeBaseballInsider.com. Cooney's Owls finished their first
season in the Sun Belt Conference at 36-22 in 2007.
March 14, 2008
Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men
People like to think that our lives need a plan.
We shouldn't just bounce around from day to day without a
general idea of what we hope to accomplish, and a proper plan to
help us succeed. My life experience has shown me not only the
wisdom of such a philosophy, but the importance of having a
Our plan last weekend was to fly out to Little
Rock and start the Sun Belt Conference schedule against a
struggling UALR team and perhaps snag a road series sweep. Then
the big storm swept through and we wound up frolicking in the
snow and only managing to play one game.
Back in sunny Florida, we boarded a bus for a
Tuesday game against USF. Our plan for this one was to throw two
starters three innings each in order to prepare for this
weekend's series against Louisiana-Lafayette.
But once again, I heard the faint sound of
laughter from above, as our starter couldn't get though three
innings and we faced an early deficit. I was forced to throw
Morrison longer than planned in relief, compromising his rest
for this weekend. Our hitters battled back but we fell short,
Prior to Wednesday's game against Monmouth
University, Coach Fossas and I spent time formulating two plans.
We have some young pitchers who haven't pitched
enough at this point, so we were looking for an early lead and
planning the order in which we would use the kids, mixed in with
our regular bullpen guys who needed work for the weekend. Our
next plan would cover the possibility of a close game.
Since our starter didn't get past the first
inning without five runs scoring, we were suddenly faced with
"Plan C". That's the one we hadn't yet formulated.
As the night unfolded, FAU and Monmouth would
combine to send a total of 13 pitchers to the mound in a battle
that would last over four hours. It wasn't all pretty to be
sure, though we managed to hit five home runs – slightly more
than one per hour.
We came to bat, tied 11-11, in the ninth.
As the PA blared Leap of Faith ("It takes a
leap of faith; you gotta show some guts.") I started
formulating the last plan of the evening.
Alex Silversmith was the leadoff hitter, followed
by Troy Bubley. Bubs was giving shortstop Nick Arata a
much-needed night off, and had played a great game. But I
grabbed Nick and told him to stretch and be ready to hit for
Troy. If Sil reached base I wanted our best bunter up there to
sacrifice him into scoring position.
Arata said he wouldn't be needed 'cause Sil was
Nick had his own plan.
The first pitch Silversmith saw, he blasted over
the left field fence for a walk-off home run, making Arata the
best planner that night.
Tonight we face the team picked to repeat as Sun
Belt Conference champions. ULL is off to a slow start but they
have great pitching, and that tends to negate good hitting.
We'll need to be better than we have to date.
But don't worry.
We've got a plan.
"Leap of Faith" from Bruce Springsteen's Lucky