This archived article was written by: Lindy Bluemel
Coach Scott Madsen planned to go into last weekend with confidence as the USU Eastern baseball team traveled to Las Vegas, Nev., for its first competition this spring.
Using the Carbon County Horse Arena to prepare for the 2017 spring season has been a first for the team, Madsen sees it as a huge benefit. He says, “We are able to pitch live in one tunnel and hit batting practice in the other tunnel. Being able to see live pitching is something that not very many schools from our region are able to do before the preseason games.”
Despite injuries, the team has been working to improve their skills so they compete at full potential. Madsen said the maturity and chemistry of the team has been impressive. Sophomores step up as leaders and players step up to the empty roles of the injured.
“Compared to last year’s team, I feel that we have improved in almost every aspect. The young players from last year are more mature and know what to expect going into the season. The new players are extremely talented and are learning a lot from the sophomore group,” Madsen said.
In Vegas, the team saw tough competition; including Arizona Western losing 4-3, and defending national champions Yavapai losing 7-2. They finishing the tournament against Gateway Community College losing 9-2 and Central Arizona 15-7. The weekend was difficult, but set the bar for where the team will need to be to compete successfully.
Trevor Clingman, sophomore catcher for the team, says, “I think the competition we are going to see this weekend is great for us. It will really set the tone for the year and if we do what we can it could put this program on the map for the rest of the year.”
The goals for the team was, “To get the opportunity to get outside and get the experience needed to improve as a ball club. I always expect to be successful when playing, but in the preseason it is more about getting back to the way we were playing in the fall and preparing for the conference play to begin,” Madsen said.
In Las Vegas, the team played athletically and were able to find some weaknesses they could work on during their two week break.
The team’s strengths this year include athletic, intelligent baseball and helping each other on the field to become better. The weakness, coach explained, have been how they get early leads, but then become too comfortable, allowing teams to catch up in the end and take the lead away. “We have worked hard with this over the break and I am looking forward to see the changes that we have made, and I invite everyone to get out and watch a baseball game, if the snow will ever melt.”