The KSC baseball and softball teams faced some weather delays on their spring training trip to Auburndale, Fla.
With a large snow storm sweeping over New England, numerous flights were cancelled and delayed, causing the KSC teams to embark on their trip on Friday, March 9, instead of Wednesday.
Nonetheless, each team made it to the sunny state with high hopes.
Going down to Florida meant a lot for each team.
This annual trip in March gives each team the chance to compete and pick up extra points before the regular season, which was a huge goal, as well as finding team chemistry, junior and men’s baseball pitcher Connor Johnson said.
Before the trip, Johnson said that since all of the team’s games count towards their regular season record, they are focusing on competing with everyone they face.
“Ideally, we would like to win all ten games in Florida. We try to play the best baseball we can every day,” Johnson added.
The trip to Florida gives the team a lot of advantages they wouldn’t otherwise have in New Hampshire, such as playing in warm weather earlier and giving the new team in-game experience, Johnson said.
“Florida is where we move players around in the lineup and the field in order to get a good idea of what our everyday lineup should be. As a unit, we already have a core of go-to players but we tend to give everyone an opportunity to show what they can do and earn a spot; especially the pitchers,” Johnson added.
With ten games to play in eight days, the team had to pull together and find that balance.
“The trip gives us a better sense of who our everyday guys should be. Another big part of the trip is that the overall physical durability of our guys is better in warmer weather. You’re warm, you’re loose, and you feel good,” Johnson said.
Junior and pitcher Brandon Heath said the trip offers a lot to the team.
“I think a big thing we will be focusing on is working on the little things early in the season to prepare for conference games. Having a good approach at the plate and executing simple plays goes a long way,” Heath said.
Heath added that the goal in Florida is to play as much as possible and to really figure out each player’s role on the team.
Heath added that this trip prepares the team for the rest of the season by giving players more at bats and for pitchers to get the chance to pitch in-game situations.
“We have a lot of guys in the bullpen and the freshman haven’t pitched at the college level so it is a good chance for them to get use to pitching to college hitters,” Heath said.
Despite the numerous goals the team hopes to accomplish, Heath said the trip is definitely worth it.
“We get to spend a lot of time with our team mates and play the game we love for a week and half in the beautiful weather of Florida.”
Associate Head Coach and Pitching Coach, Marty Testo, said that the team hopes to create competition, as well as receive it in Florida.
Testo added that the trip will hopefully solidify team chemistry, as well as give the team the chance to focus on baseball and only baseball.
A lot of work goes into each Florida trip, but Testo said that the team hopes to win games. “It’s a week to look at things and see where we stand,” said the Associate Head Coach.
Despite numerous attempts at contact, the softball team did not respond or comment.
Although there were some major weather delays and two injuries involving two strong hitters, Heath said that the trip was still very successful.
The KSC baseball team walked away from Florida with a 6-2 record.
“I think we played pretty well for the most part. We always expect to win when we take the field but that doesn’t always happen,” Heath said.
He added, “A few losses here and there is okay as long as we learn from our mistakes and get better,” Heath said.
Heath said that the team did face some early adversities, such as missing two of arguably their best hitters due to injuries, which played with their lineup.
However, the team dealt with the tough news and the other team members took the opportunity to step up and fill the two injured players spots, Heath added.
“We had several good games, but the games that stood out to me is when our offense put up a ton of runs. That puts pressure on other teams and makes it almost impossible to come back,” Heath said.
With pre-season wins already under the baseball team’s belt, Heath said that the trip was and is great for the team because it gives them the chance to play and see who is going to be their best option for certain positions come conference games.
“The team bonding is also very important to playing together as a team and making friends and memories that will last a lifetime.”
Now that spring has arrived, the baseball team hopes to keep up the hard work and continue to win, Heath added.
“We put a lot of hard work in and just need to continue you that in the regular season,” Heath said.
Caroline Perry can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org