WINCHESTER, Va. - Senior Daniel Freshley is in his second year of blogging about the baseball team. After a long absence, Danny returns today to catch us up on the Hornets.
Hello again! I do apologize for my absence. This swarm of games (like the stretch we have coming up this week) combined this little thing called classes and homework make it difficult to find the time to blog.
Over the past few weeks we've seen our team make great strides towards being the great team we believe we can be. We continuously talk about how good we can be if we put all three phases (offense, defense, and pitching) of the game together, but I think we can all say we haven't truly done it yet. We've seen moments of absolutely dominating pitching, or spectacular defense, but until this past weekend at Emory & Henry, we hadn't truly seen the full potential of our offense. Well, 28 runs and 45 hits later, I think it's safe to say we swung the bats pretty well.
As I've said before, we typically break the season down into fourths, with each set containing 10 games. Unfortunately, with the crazy weather of this season, and the inflexibility of our schedule as well as many of the teams we previously had scheduled, it doesn't look like we're going to make it to the 40-game mark that we typically play. That being said, we begin our last set of nine games this afternoon against and will wrap up the set next Tuesday before the ODAC Conference Tournament kicks off two days later.
As we do after every road game, when we return to campus Coach Anderson addressed the team on the bus about his thoughts and analysis of that days games and the schedule for what's ahead. Saturday evening (or really Sunday morning considering we arrived at campus at 1 a.m.) Coach stressed how important this final set will be in determining the fate of our season. Our goal every year is to play a successful enough regular season, between conference games and non-conference games, to put us into a position to advance to NCAA regional play regardless of what we do in the conference tournament.
For those of you that may not be familiar with the NCAA tournament selection process, there are three "pools" to which you can qualify for a regional bid. The first pool, Pool A, the most common route of many regional teams, is to win your conference tournament and receive your conference automatic qualifying bid. There are 40 Pool A bids available across the country. The second route, Pool B, is the least common of the three pools. These two Pool B bids are given out to the best two teams in the United States that do not participate in a conference with an automatic qualifying bid or no conference at all. The last pool, Pool C, the manner in which we have qualified for NCAA Regionals four out of our past six appearances (the 2009 team won the USA South Conference championship), is to be deemed by the NCAA DIII Selection Committee as one of the 14 best teams remaining in the United States that did not win their conference tournament. As stated, we try to play ourselves into a position throughout the course of the season that allows us to head into conference tournament without feeling the pressure of having to win it all to advance.
As we spoke on the bus, Coach said that this stretch of games will determine that fate. If we run the table, we will most certainly be sitting in a very good position heading into next weeks conference tournament. However, a couple losses could put us into a potentially dangerous situation and a do-or-die mentality heading into conference tournament.
All you can ask for in sports is the ability to control your own destiny. It happens every year, in every sport. Teams find their fate at the liberty of another team's success, or potentially lack of. However, the next nine games of our season will allow us to control that fate. We can dictate the outcome of our season. And for the 11 players graduating this year, you can be sure that we won't let the opportunity pass us by.