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Snow may be falling outside, but one look inside Carlson Gymnasium tells you that the baseball season is about to begin.
Since CU lacks a varsity squad and is one of only two schools in the Big 12 that doesn’t have a Division I team, the university usually has an extremely competitive club team.
|>> 2007 SPRING SCHEDULE|
2/24–12:00–University of Wyoming
2/24–3:00–University of Wyoming
2/25–12:00–University of Wyoming
2/25–3:00–University of Wyoming
3/3–12:00–@University of Northern Colorado
3/3–3:00–@University of Northern Colorado
3/4–12:00–@University of Northern Colorado
3/4–3:00–@University of Northern Colorado
3/10–12:00–@Colorado State University
3/10–3:00–@Colorado State University
3/11–12:00–@Colorado State University
3/11–3:00–@Colorado State University
3/24–TBA–NCBA Spring Training
3/25–TBA–NCBA Spring Training
3/26–TBA–NCBA Spring Training
3/27–TBA–NCBA Spring Training
3/28–TBA–NCBA Spring Training
3/29–TBA–NCBA Spring Training
4/14–12:00–University of Northern Colorado
4/14–3:00–University of Northern Colorado
4/15–12:00–University of Northern Colorado
4/15–3:00–University of Northern Colorado
4/21–12:00–Colorado State University
4/21–3:00–Colorado State University
4/22–12:00–Colorado State University
4/22–3:00–Colorado State University
4/28–12:00–@University of Wyoming
4/28–3:00–@University of Wyoming
4/29–12:00–@University of Wyoming
4/29–3:00–@University of Wyoming
- Ben Dignan
With the start of the spring season only two weeks away, the players are forced to head indoors to round their games into shape and get ready for another season.
“It’s really tough not getting outside because of all the snow,” said junior first baseman Justin Glover. “It is a good thing that a lot of other teams are going through the same thing as us (with the weather).”
The club team is self-coached, which means that the players vote at the beginning of the season on a head captain and two assistants. These students are in charge of administrational matters such as schedule planning, running practices (which last three hours a day), getting the team into tournaments and planning travel. They do all this work in addition to playing for the team themselves. Shortstop Joey Fulcher serves as the club president and head captain for this year’s squad.
“We have had real coaches in the past, but the commitment level from them hasn’t been great,” Fulcher said. “This is because they have to have other jobs on the side, so they are in and out. We have done well the last few years with player-coaches.”
The team is a member of the Rocky Mountain North Conference in the National Club Baseball Association. The conference includes teams from the University of Northern Colorado, the University of Wyoming and the three-time defending national club champion Colorado State University Rams.
In club baseball, you must win your conference to continue on to the playoffs. The winner of the north then squares off with the south conference winner to earn a trip to the NCBA World Series. The CU team plays two seasons: one in fall and another during spring. This typically adds up to over 50 games a year, plus practices and other team commitments.
“Club ball is a pretty big commitment. We take it pretty seriously and it’s very competitive ball,” Fulcher said. “A lot of these could have played Division II or III ball, but ended up not choosing those schools. We play four games per weekend, two doubleheaders on each day. We also practice about four days a week.”
CU’s club team looks to be in good shape for the upcoming season, as they return the majority of their roster from last year. The bulk of the starters are juniors, who will be looking to build on last seasons No. 13 national ranking. In each of the last three seasons, the Buffs have finished second in conference play, behind traditional power CSU. CU is looking to improve on that mark this year.
“This is the best team I have seen,” said co-captain and junior center fielder DJ Dilettoso. “I thought we had a strong team in the fall. It was the first time we have beaten CSU in a while, and I think we are even stronger this spring.”
Coaching the same team that you play on can be a challenge, Dilettoso said.
“Being a player as well as a coach is hard because a lot of these guys are your friends and we have fight a lot of adversity on this team,” Dilettoso said. “It is so hard when you have to make a game time decision involving your friend and deciding what is best for the team.”
According to the team Web site, the number one goal for the club baseball team is to have fun. The way this team goes about its business it is clear that they have other goals in mind as well. Dilettoso summed up the team’s aspirations best.
“We are fighting to go all the way, all the way to the World Series.”
Contact Campus Press Staff Writer Ben Dignan at email@example.com.