Pioneers baseball is at bat with Mother Nature

Carson Longstreth throws a ball during a baseball practice session at Delta main campus. March 19, 2019, University Center. (Michael Piwowarski/News Editor)

By Steele Wynne, reporter.

UNIVERSITY CENTER — Typically, players ice their shoulders after a long game of throwing, but what if it is already freezing outside? After starting their preseason games in the south with warmer weather, the Pioneers baseball team has returned to Michigan and its inclement weather.

The Pioneers concluded their preseason with an overall record of 5-8-1, and hope to correct the flaws in their gameplay before next season. Head coach Daniel Smith, described his team’s first 14 games.

“We played one of our tougher schedules in Florida. We learned a lot down there— what we’re capable of and what we’re not capable of, and we played in absolute frigid conditions on Sunday [March 17] and neither team played well. So we don’t really know where we’re at. We’ve been back from Florida two weeks now and we’re still feeling ourselves out and not really playing in good conditions,” says Smith, explaining the curve ball Mother Nature has thrown at his team.

While unable to even practice on their own diamond due to reconstruction and a wet field, the Pioneers are forced to practice anywhere they can — whether it is inside or outside near the tennis courts.

“The field is not ready. We haven’t had quality weather to dry them out, so the grass may be playable, but the dirt and everything around it isn’t. You have to be able to overcome adversity, it’s not just us that has to deal with this— if you play baseball in the north, every school has to deal with this,” says Smith.

Second baseman, Lucas Sella, states that this setback is nothing new to him and that he will find a way to work around it like he always has.

“It’s tough obviously, but it’s just something we’ve gotten used to. I’ve always played in Michigan— growing up playing high school ball […] we’re just kind of used to making due with the elements,” remarks Sella.

Known locally for their self-proclaimed motto of “Nine Guys Named Joe,” this team takes pride in working not only together, but for each other. Coach Smith expounded on this trademark and said that he doesn’t want his team to be known for a few good players, but instead remembered as one that worked together.

“A Joe is anyone who will do anything to help his team out. […] He’s going to go out there and perform just like a regular Joe. We don’t want to be known as a team who has this guy or that guy, we just wanna be known as nine guys named Joe. Get up every morning, blue collar, lunch-pale and go to work.”

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