The baseball team, one of Keene State’s most closely knit squads, is ready to make a push for the LEC championship this year.
Baseball practice has started back up as the semester moves along. The baseball team has not won the LEC championship since 2010 and has not made the NCAA tournament since 2012. The Owls will try to improve on the 15-19 season they had last year, and make a push for the LEC championship.
With baseball being an outdoor sport, every year the team goes down to Florida to play the first quarter of their season. Going to Florida means that the players can get away from the cold and snow of New Hampshire.
Coach Ken Howe said, “Down there everybody feels great, they feel loose.” With temperatures in Florida staying at about 75 degrees year-round, the team is able to get back on the diamond.
Howe has noticed that this is a close team, saying, “I think this team is very close-knit, they’re taking care of each other” said Howe. The chemistry of a team can be crucial in making a playoff run. Johnson used the word “brotherhood” when describing the team.
Senior reliever Connor Johnson explained why the team is so close,“Well, a lot of it has to due with the fact that we are always around each other.”
Johnson is starting his fourth and final season at Keene State. The team has struggled in recent years, partly due to playing in a very difficult conference.
However, “The LEC championship is not out of reach” Johnson said. “I think it’s anybody’s game honestly, it all just depends on who puts the work in.”
You can see the Owls play their first home game on Mar, 24 against Johnson & Wales.
The team will play their first game in Florida on Mar. 8 in Kissimmee, Florida. They will play against Coe College for a double-header first game starting at 4:30 p.m., the second at 7:30 p.m.
Baseball’s startup does not only affect the coaches and players, but also the administration as well.
Assistant Athletic Director Abe Osheyack is the man that oversees sports information, compliance and operations. When talking about what that means, Osheyack said, “Eligibility certifications is something I am working on now, supervising my staff who write press releases.” These responsibilities are paramount to a smooth-running sports team. It is very important for the team to make the Florida trip, and this helps them get more games in when New Hampshire weather is not as cooperative.
“It’s really important that they are able to get to a warm weather location to play ten, eleven, twelve games” said Osheyack. The trip to Florida is a necessary part of the season, as about a quarter of the games are played there. However, this does not mean that it is not a costly trip.
“There is some money from the athletic department, they do have to pay a significant portion out of pocket, and there are some fundraising opportunities available” said Osheyack. While expensive, going down to Florida is a necessary and fun experience for the players.
Austin Smith can be contacted