Team determined after falling short in league title game last year
Losing 6-5 in last year’s ASC championship game against the 24th ranked UT Tyler Patriots left a bitter taste in the mouths of members of UTD’s baseball team.
Now the Comets use that loss to add more fuel to the fire in hopes of redeeming themselves this season.
“Coming up short in the end … just wasn’t enough for us,” said senior infielder Brandon George. “Getting to the championship and not winning it (was) definitely one of the biggest factors in how hard we worked this off-season.”
Currently plastered on the back of the team’s practice shirts is a quote reading, “Deserve to win.”
“It’s pretty much saying if you want to win you have to earn it,” said senior infielder Jimmy Norris. “You have to earn it with every rep in the weight room, every foul ball and every swing. We have to earn the right to win.”
The team is currently comprised of a mix of upper-classmen and returning key players from last season’s ASC runner-up team.
“I think it’s going to be a really fun year,” George said. “We have a lot of guys who now have played together for two or three seasons. In college, you don’t get to spend that much time with guys. We know each other really well. We’re very comfortable with each other.”
George, a two time first-team All-ASC member, has firmly positioned himself as one of the leaders on this year’s squad.
“I’d like to think that I can help lead this team,” he said. “I don’t think I can do it all alone. There are other guys on the team that can help lead us. I’m not really a motivational type of speaker … I tend to do things by action.”
Norris on the other hand, does not hesitate to get vocal with his teammates.
“I’m the one that’s trying to positively motivate everyone — rile everybody up, make sure everybody is hustling and paying attention,” he said. “The only way we’re going to get better is if everybody is going after the same goal.”
The team has been tabbed to finish third in the ASC behind UT Tyler and Concordia. George’s confidence in his teammates, however, remains unwavering.
“We have tons of all-conference players,” he said. “If you look on the field, I think probably seven out of nine of us are all-conference players. Probably, I would say, by the end of the (season), we’ll have nine out of nine. If you look through our line-up, you can find a senior that can get the job done.”
This season will also be unique as the team welcomes its youngest player ever — 9-year-old Hamilton Grant.
Grant, who is in remission, will be the second cancer patient to join a UTD athletic program. Late last fall, Kaitlyn Renee Johnson joined the volleyball team.
“It’s going to feel good for him to be in the dugout to play with us and be a part of the team,” Norris said. “For us, it gives us a better perspective of life. We have to understand that we’re fortunate to play this game and that not everyone that wants to can. Obviously he’s going to want us to win and we’re going to want to win for him.”
The ultimate goal for the team is to add some hardware come May.
“As a senior, this is my last go around,” George said. “This is kind of it. I’ve played in many games, played some big games and have a lot of memories, but hopefully (this season) tops all of those.”