During their preseason, the men’s baseball team earned some impressive accolades with rankings like No. 12 by Collegiate Baseball and No. 18 by Perfect Game in the preseason polls. With a 2016 National Championship title and the these additional rankings, expectations for this program are at an all-time high. Greg Brown, head coach of the baseball team, said these preseason rankings are great indicators of where the program is.
“These accolades represent our reputation and our talent and once it reaches a certain level, people expect more,” said Brown.
The training for this season has been intense, especially with the turnover of students graduating and new recruits entering the program. This year, 23 new players have entered the program, which gave the team an opportunity to add some new talent to the already skilled roster. Individualized training programs, for players to meet their own goals and team goals, led to a few standout players this training season.
According to Brown, players like freshman Andrew Labosky, junior Jake Anchia and senior Andrew Liberty have had an outstanding training camp and can all contribute to a fantastic season.
“Anchia is our highest prospect catcher, he’s a dynamic player. Liberty has been a staple in this program and Labosky can be a real impact player for us this year. All of our players have had the best training this season, [better] than we’ve ever had,” said Brown.
A big contributor to this successful training season is the team’s culture. If a team can work productively together on and off the field, then it could make a great season overall, and Mike Mominey, director of athletics, agreed.
“From what I’ve seen, this is a group who likes to have fun. Even though there are a lot of new faces, it seems like they’ve known each other a long time, which is a good sign. It will create earlier team chemistry and camaraderie which will hopefully result in wins,” said Mominey.
Over the past eight years under Brown’s leadership, the program has created a culture and work ethic that this team can take pride in. He believes in impacting young men and giving them the ability to reach their potential. He said not only did these players meet his expectations, but they exceeded them.
During opening weekend, the team has faced some top competitors like No. 15 Catawba, Tusculum, and No. 1 Delta State. Facing these competitors so early in the season has raised the stakes as well as expectations for the team. But for them, it’s more about the experience than the logistics.
“The challenge of having strong opponents early creates an ebb and flow which offers a lot of growth opportunities. I’m more interested in how we develop rather than who we are playing,” said Brown.
The team hopes that approaching the season with an open attitude will raise the bar for potential skills they can acquire.
“I believe results are byproducts of how you do things, whether that’s in practice or building your character. The wins and losses are an end result of what you do when no one’s looking,” said Mominey.
By learning new skills and harmonizing as a team, Mominey and Brown hope the NSU community will engage with their program as well.
“I think our games provide great entertainment and we would like to see the students take pride and be a part of the brand of NSU on the field. We are furthering that connection with events like Baseball Bonanza on Feb. 16 to engage the student body in our program,” said Brown
The next game for the Sharks is in Alabama on Feb. 9 against the North Alabama Lions. The team encourages fans to follow them in the stands or on twitter @NSU_Baseball for live updates and other exclusive content.