After appearing at the College World Series last season and opening this season as the number four ranked team in Division III, the Pointers baseball team is set to start its 2014 season in Florida over spring break.
The Pointers left Stevens Point on Wednesday, looking forward to warmer weather and some heated competition in Florida where they will play 14 games in eight days.
Expectations are high for the Pointers as the team returns a majority of its pitching staff and some key hitters to the lineup. According to head coach, Pat Bloom, the Pointers biggest strength is its experienced players.
Bloom believes that the two primary indicators of success are the team’s returning experience and the collective age of players on the club. Bloom explained that the Pointers have both.
“The age and experience of our club are the greatest reasons why I believe this team can be successful,” Bloom said.
Senior outfielder Casey Barnes is confident that the team’s overall depth will help the Pointers succeed this season.
“We have plenty of guys that could start on other teams but are reserves here. It makes us better as a team to have depth because we push each other more,” Barnes said.
Bloom believes that the Pointers pitching staff is the team’s greatest strength and explained that the six senior and three junior pitchers will be a big part of this team’s success.
The Pointers will have two former Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Year award winners in its starting rotation with junior J.P. Feyereisen and senior Cam Seidl.
Bloom believes this team has potential to be a championship contender. The team understands that expectation puts a target on its back.
Junior outfielder Jimmy Coady enjoys the challenge of high expectations.
“The expectation for this team this year is the same as every other year. Be the best, and be the team that everyone wants to beat,” Coady said. “It’s more fun playing with a target on your back.”
The question for the Pointers this season is if they can replicate the success they had last season. Barnes and Coady believe this team can.
“Our team has the potential and the drive to make it far into the playoffs,” Barnes said. “The goal of every team is to build on what they have already accomplished and to exceed that.”
“I think that this year’s team has the understanding and motivation to know that we can succeed higher than last year’s team,” Coady said. “We had our socks knocked off in our last couple games last year at the World Series. Ending our season that way is a good motivation for us.”
Bloom believes the baseball program has set a standard for excellence that if not matched, will mean a failure to reach expectations.
“Anything less than a championship caliber performance at the end of the season would be an underachievement,” Bloom said. “We’re a long way from that, but this team has been built to compete not only for conference championship, but for regional and national championships.”