Baseball starts season strong

Danielle Lutjens | Banner | Chad Castillo, sophomore business administration major, focuses in on the ball as he calculates his swing.

California Baptist University’s 2019-2020 baseball team is using its strong work ethic to gain momentum for the rest of the season.

The season home opener kicked off Feb. 21 with a fireworks show, and the Lancers played against one of the team’s biggest rivals: the Highlanders from the  University of California, Riverside. The Lancers beat UCR in a 3-1 victory.

Lancer baseball fans should be excited for the remainder of the season because the team is locked in and focused on improving its record of 5-1.

Gary Adcock, head coach of CBU’s baseball team, said he believes in the goals he set for the team this season.

“We always set lofty goals. We set a goal to win the league last year and not many people outside of ourselves believed that was possible,” Adcock said. “I don’t think anyone goes into a season hoping to finish second or third, so we want to put ourselves in a position to win on the last weekend like we did last year. Hopefully, we do that again this year and we can retain that title.”

Adcock said the team has succeeded because seniors step up in helping lead the team and act as extra coaches.

“With the move from Division II to Division I, we really tried to position ourselves with senior infielder Nick Plaia, senior first basemen John Glenn and senior right-handed pitcher Matt Amrhein. Those guys have played a lot of innings and have a ton of experience, so they know who we are and what we do,” Adcock said. “That’s been a big comfort in the fall. They’re like an extra coach without being a coach.”

Nick Plaia, senior kinesiology major and infielder, said he has faith that by the end of the season the team will bring home another Western Athletic Conference championship.

“There is no doubt that at certain points in our season we will face adversity,” Plaia said. “Yet, there is not one part of me that has doubt to where I don’t believe we can compete. We are a gritty group of guys, and we will compete with every opponent, every match up, no matter what the circumstance is. At the end of the day, I see us repeating last year and winning another WAC title.”

Kyle Oyama, graduate student in business administration, said he wants to prove his leadership to his team in order to accomplish the team’s ultimate goal.

“For me individually, I’m just trying to enjoy every moment, considering it’s my last year, and be the best player I can be in order to help this team accomplish our goals,” Oyama said.

When it comes to big-time rivalries, the Lancer’s baseball schedule is tough. The upcoming teams the Lancers will face are the University of Nevada on March 5, California State University, Fullerton, on March 24, and the University of Las Vegas on April 15.

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