Baseball season soon to begin

Ian Taylor, Sports Writer

As the temperature rises and the green grass grows taller many people around the Missouri Southern campus continue to grow more and more excited.  

Not only for that wonderful word “summer” to be thrown around in the not so distant future, but also for the great American pastimeknown as baseball to begin.  

With a team picked to finish 6th in the preseason MIAA coaches poll the Lions hope to get their season off to a hot start this weekend as they travel north to Minnesota to play a four game set against Mont. St. Billings in the Twins former major league stadium, the Metrodome.  

“Traveling is easily one of the best things about baseball.  Traveling to places with your team is a great bonding experience,” said junior Tee Helsel after being asked about their upcoming trip.  

Just another plus for a group of players already excited just to get their season underway after the early mornings and inter-squad practices.

“We are just ready to be able to play some competition and show the conference that last year wasn’t a fluke for us.  We’ve got a lot of guys who can play and we feel prepared to start this season,” said Helsel when asked about the approaching season.  

A season slated to start with a team that will need to find a new identity with the loss of key players from last years team and the additions of players coming back from injuries

Players like Lions senior starting pitcher Brett Abell, who Coach Darnell cited as an amazing story during a interview on 1450 The Score Wednesday morning. After coming back from a serious injury last year, and new guys playing new positions there are some questions yet to be answered but Coach Darnell and his staff think they have the answers.  

“We have five 23 year olds on this team and I think that speaks well, and that will show up at some point, our maturity,” said Coach Darnell.  Maturity, an aspect of baseball that he finds to be very important during a long seasons grind on players and coaches alike, “being able to handle what baseball brings, you know baseball is a game of failure and we talk about how you handle the failure will decide in large part how the rest of the game goes.”

A issue never more evident than with the starting pitching of a team, shaking off failure and finding ways to win is the daily expectation.  

Individuals that stand on the mound inning after inning throwing the best they have at the other team trying to stay mentally tough all while dealing with base hits and base runners.  

Coach Darnell made his feelings known saying, “The most important part of your team is starting pitching.”  And with a team that has strong starters and solid position players it’s not a stretch to see why they are excited to get the season underway.

“I didn’t really buy into what Jimmy Leyland says about chemisty, he said it was a class I took in high school, well that may work in the pros but in college baseball chemistry matters for sure,” said Coach Darnell, and if his team has as much chemistry as he believes they have talent this baseball team could be a force in the MIAA this season.