Preparing for the new season has kept the California Baptist University Lancer baseball team busy and optimistic.
“Our expectations stay the same each year. We work diligently on preparing ourselves to compete in the ultra competitive GSAC. We hope to compete for a conference and national title,” Gary Adcock, head coach said.
Freshmen Tyler Cook, Derek Eggum and AJ Kissenger all reiterated this, confirming the World Series and the coveted ring earned by the championship team is their ideal outcome for the season.
This years lineup is slightly different than last seasons. “We did not have much to replace, but we still added quality arms,” Adcock said.
Those quality arms are Devyn Rivera, Travis Barnes and Patrick Smith. Adcock also added Kevin Odom and Chris Joranco as new position players.
Other changes include the use of BBCOR bats. Short for Batted Ball Coefficient of Restitution, these metal bats are the new NCAA standard.
“The new BBCOR bats are going to drastically change college baseball,” Adcock said.
“I think you will see more teams push the action in order to try and score. We have been swinging them for several months now so we are as prepared as we are going to be.” Adcock said.
“We tracked our home run totals this fall versus last fall and it is down 50 percent. I think 90 feet advances will be important. Your ability to stop them or start them will be paramount in a team’s success.
The Lancers will look to limit their number of walks, hit batter, wild pitches and passed balls to prevent these crucial 90 feet advances.
The new BBCOR bats are a benefit to some players and coaches but a drawback to others.
“Pitchers will like them but not the batters because they act like a wooden bat,” Cook said.
“We try to emphasize small ball philosophy, so it does not really take away from that aspect. We will probably have less home runs, but we can still get the job done,” Kissenger said.
Adcock described practices as fast-paced, intense and competitive.
“We have a routine we like to stick to down to the minute. We have found guys get better when they stick to a pre-game routine. By the time the game starts, the focus has been narrowed to its finest.”