Baseball ‘brothers’ reflect on end of the season

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Emma Polefko, Contributing Writer

 

The University of Dallas baseball players went into the 2013-2014 season with high hopes and finished by giving it their all. All of the games have now been won, all of the players have touched home plate and, just like that, the last out has been called. After the good sportsmanship of this season, the boys got on the bus back to campus, thankful to have each other and the memories they had made this season.

The obviously outstanding moment of the season was beating Trinity University in game two of a three-game series.

“From Trevor Keele hitting the grand slam to tie it to Denton Martin catching the final out in left field, it was definitely the best team win I’ve ever been a part of,” said junior Nolan Kipp.

Junior Trevor Keele proudly said that by beating the number one team in the country, the boys “showed the type of team we could be.”

The team knew that it was not just the win or the loss that made the games important. According the freshman Eric Felchak, Coach Myers’ pre-game inspirational talks with the pitchers were something to be remembered.

When asked if there was a specific quote or inspirational moment that stood out, Felchak upheld the tradition of the team and said, “We made a vow not to repeat what goes on in the huddle. What happens in the huddle stays in the huddle.”

The tradition of the team and commitment of the players were what carried this team through. To onlookers, the game might seem to be about hitting the ball in order to get on base and drive teammates home, but to the players, the game is about much more than the hits.

“The thing I loved most and will miss the most is the feeling you get when you’ve made a great play, or run scored, and are greeted by a sea of screaming brothers whom you’ve grown to love and respect,” said senior Mark Carlson. “[They] want nothing more than to high-five you or slap your helmet.”

While Trinity was the shining moment for UD baseball this season, the players recognize that it was the games along the way that really helped to get them where they wanted to be. From the moment that a player becomes a member of the team, each game is the most important one to date, and the memorable games are those in which he finds out what he is really capable of.

Thinking back to his sophomore year, with the goals of the team always in mind, senior Alex Thornton recalled the satisfaction of “hitting my first collegiate homerun against Sul Ross [State University] to take the lead in the top of the ninth inning to help complete the series sweep.”

Sophomore Rene Vagas, Jr. had a similar experience this season, when he achieved his first collegiate extra base hit against Austin College. He was amazed at the way that the team members rallied behind a brother.

“Brian Donely got the attention of the team and said, ‘On behalf of the Austin College pitching staff and the University of Dallas, I would like to present Rene Vargas with his first career extra-base hit,’” said Vargas.

On and off the field, there were also certain players whose tenacity was to be admired. Junior Jake Bruns said that each member of the team had a mentor whom he could look up to. In particular, Kipp stood out to him as possessing many different qualities to be admired and desired in an athlete.

“I think we could all learn from him,” said Bruns.

The brotherhood of the teammates got them through the dog days of practice, and the win against Trinity was proof that anything is possible.

Sophomore Joshua “Tug” McRoberts said he looks at the series as “a sort of motivation … I know we can play at that level.”

With this season at its end, there is no denying that the players wish they were in the Conference Tournament, but the team is ready to rally. The Crusaders believe that their end goal is worth fighting for.

“We’re going to use this experience as our motivation to drive us to having a productive offseason in preparation for next year,” said junior Martin Cronin. “We need to do everything to make sure we come out on top in 2015.”

 

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