Dixie State College baseball team, ranked No. 5 by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, is preparing to slam California State University-Los Angeles, Ranked No. 8 in NCBWA, out of the park.
Dixie will take on Cal State, LA on Feb. 8-10 in Los Angeles. There they will play a series of four games in three days. The Red Storm had a triumphant win over Cal State, LA last year when they defeated them three out of four games. That game gave the Red Storm the edge they needed to push them a little father and to prove themselves as a team.
“Going into it we felt like an iffy team on whether or not we’d make the play-offs,” said outfielder Garret Nash, a senior business major from Alta. “So that was a big series for us, and we played really well.
After that game Dixie ended up going on to the regional tournament.
Outfielder Jordan Hanley, a senior integrated studies major from Las Vegas, said that was the kind of over-the-hill winning series they needed.
The Golden Eagles went to the Division II World Series in 2007 and have been at the top of the California Collegiate Athletic Association conference since.
DSC plays its first game against the Golden Eagles on Friday, followed by a double header on Saturday and the last game on Sunday.
“We are a very offensive team,” Pfatenhauer said. “We have a good mix of power and good team speed. The only downside is the pitching hasn’t been consistent. We haven’t had anybody, since the break, really separate themselves from the rest of the group.”
This upcoming game will be a good measuring stick for the Red Storm and a chance for them to prove themselves.
When the Red Storm prepare for and hold scrimmages, they try to make it as game-like as possible for the players.
DSC held an alumni game on Feb. 2 not only for the school, but to test their skills.
“We have tried to prepare them as much as we can for the actual game,” Pfatenhauer said. “Obviously you can never simulate the real deal, but we have gotten pretty close.”
Pfatenhauer has prepared the team by working on its signs, batting practice, as well as the time they spend in premium batting practice.
“We worked hard all fall and spring,” Nash said. “We are kind of getting antsy; we are ready to go. It will be good to get out and actually play some games against an opponent. We have a good team with good leadership and I think it will be a good way to get started.”
The Red Storm seemed to have found their niche and can relate it to their future success.
“We are closer as a team,” Hanley said. “This team is a lot more personal and the coaching staff is a lot more personal. Our coaches really stress on the senior leadership.”
Hanley said the seniors this year are bringing a lot of passion and energy to the game.
Nash said if DSC does that, as well as sick to the fundamentals, they will come out on top.
“[Fundamentals are] what it always comes down to,” Nash said. “Games are won and lost by the ones that can execute and get the job done. So I think we just [need] to keep working on our skills and make sure that we are prepared in every aspect. I feel pretty good at where we are at now, but if we continue in the time that is left, and just try to sharpen up, we will be ready to go.”
Nash said they also need to prepare mentally to have that approach.