The GC baseball team begins its quest to capture an elusive national championship Jan. 31.
The season opener sees GC facing Queens University of Charlotte in Tampa, FL. Coach Eller, as well as other players, state that their main focus of the season starts with winning the Peach Belt.
“Obviously we start off trying to win the Peach Belt,” said Austin Holloway, a junior and catcher for the team. “Then go to the conference tournament, we’re always trying to win that, then ultimately try to win a national championship.”
In order to reach the goal of a national championship, the team cannot rely solely on offense. They need to fix small mistakes and defensive errors.
Twenty plus players competed in summer leagues in almost six different states. Almost half of those players were awarded all-star selections and shined as leaders of their respective leagues.
Offseason weight room training prepared players to get bigger, stronger and faster for the upcoming season.
“We really focused on the weight room this offseason, so we really got in there and grinded, try to get physical and get stronger,” Holloway said.
With last season being somewhat mediocre compared to past seasons with a record of 26-21, the team needs to face adversity head on.
“We gotta win ball games and that’s by playing under our system that we have,” said Cam Hill, sophomore center fielder. “And as long as we follow the system, we should be fine.”
Coach Eller digested a tough fourth season and plans to implement a positive mindset as he embarks into his 21 season of college baseball.
“I know they are giving us everything they got,” Eller said. “They are giving it to us in the classroom, they’re giving it to us in the weight room, and they’re giving it to us at practice. So I know their hearts are in the right place, their minds are in the right place, so I’m gonna be an ally, I’m gonna be here to try and help.”
Players such as Hill and Holloway need to step up in order to improve on last season. Hill, former PCB freshman of the year and Holloway, who is heading into his third year, plays an important position at catcher.
The consensus around the club house is the potential of a breakout season for third baseman Noah Mendlinger as he delves into his second season of college baseball. He did not get to play much last season, but he grew up this offseason and made the all-star team in his summer league.
This team is unique because it does not have the firepower of past GC teams. They need to win closer games while playing a different style with less offensive outbursts.
“Those are fun for the fans and nerve racking for the coaches and the players,” Eller said. “It’ll be really fun to watch it grow and develop throughout the season.”
The mindset of this team is clear.
“Get in there and play like our hair is on fire and show the world that we are a team to beat,” Hill said.