The Road to Omaha begins today. Coastal Carolina and 299 other teams will embark on a quest for College Baseball’s Promised Land. Only eight will make it. Will this be the year Coastal makes it to the College World Series? Only time will tell but I would not count them out of it.
Building on the Past
I don’t think anyone would argue with the statement that Coastal suffered the biggest heartbreak in college baseball last year in the Myrtle Beach Super Regional. Losing two games by one run was tough. Although some might say that losing to the eventual National Champions was a consolation prize, I don’t think the team would agree. The sooner Coastal puts that series behind them, the better. I bet that Coach Gilmore and his staff have already accomplished that task.
Preseason Polls and Talking Heads
Depending on what you read or who you listen to, Coastal is highly over-ranked or grossly under-ranked. Who cares? Preseason rankings are fun, but they don’t mean a thing. The season is long and what really counts is how you play the game on the field. Besides, the Coastal players are used to it by now: They play better with a chip on their shoulders.
New Bats and Shorter Games
According to the experts, the new bats will mean fewer home runs. This is good for college baseball and good for Coastal. I like small ball and I like short games – unless it’s a long game and that’s fine too as long as Coastal wins.
Leadership and Electricity
Coastal returns several starters from last year and has some new players that should make a quick impact for this team. As far as leadership, look no further than centerfield. Scott Woodward returns for his senior season and he will light up the park, both on offense and defense. Remember this: Speed kills and a single by Woody will almost always end up a double with his amazing base stealing ability.
You can’t get to Omaha without good pitching. It doesn’t get any better than all everything Anthony Meo. He is a preseason All American and Coastal’s Ace. Expect senior Jim Birmingham to join the rotation, as well as freshman Tyler Herb and redshirt freshman Stefan del Pino. The bullpen is loaded and led by Seniors Matt Rein and Matt Laney.
The Team and the Season
Coastal has some young arms and some young yet to be proven position players. It’s a long season. One thing we know about Coach Gilmore and his staff is that they will have the Chanticleers ready to play.
I like our chances.
First pitch is at 4:00 against Boston College.