The CSU baseball team doesn’t like to talk about last year’s finish. When the goal of a team is to make it to the National Championship each year, being ousted at regionals is a disappointing feeling.
It can also serve as motivation.
Now the Rams are doing everything they possibly can to make sure history doesn’t repeat itself.
“One of our pitchers, Alex Marshall, is putting the regional t-shirt up in the dugout for every practice and every game, just as a little reminder,” third baseman Brett Bogner said. “I personally don’t like to think about it but a lot of guys do, (it’s) just something to work for and something to remember every single practice.”
The team has won the NCBA National Championship six times in its history but hasn’t done so since 2010.
“(It’s) the longest drought in our program’s history,” Childs said. “We’re eager to get back to (a national championship title).”
Now, the team is focusing on their fall schedule and will play 24 games in preparation for the spring. Childs believes that working on fundamentals and having competition at nearly every position is a big emphasis this fall for him team.
“You can self-motivate as much as you want, but there’s nothing as motivating as the potential of someone taking your playing time,” Childs said. “I think we have a really competitive bunch especially on our pitching staff.”
With four starting pitchers returning this year for the Rams, Childs isn’t worried about who will pitch each game—he’s more concerned about how to please each one with adequate playing time.
“You ask the four starters and every single one of them would tell you that they are the best pitcher on the team,” Childs said. “It’s awesome, I love it. It’s a little tough when one guy gets pissed that he’s not getting the same innings as other guys but I love that. You have to have a tough mentality, you have to just expect to be better than the hitter you’re facing and so I don’t mind that kind of mentality from our pitching staff whatsoever.”
Childs is pleased with the work he has seen from the players so far this fall, noting that he is particularly impressed with the athleticism the team has displayed. With about 34 players on the team right now, he expects to keep around 24-28 for the spring.
While bringing back a national championship always remains the ultimate goal, the Rams won’t get ahead of themselves.
“If you set one goal for the end of the season with no map to get there, you’re not going to find it,” Childs said. “We have individual goals from each inning, to each game to each year, to the conference schedule, to the regional, to the world series to the national championship.”
This fall, for the second year in a row, the Rams will team up with the Zeta Tau Alpha sorority for their game against Metro State on Oct. 11 at City Park in Fort Collins in an effort to raise funds for breast cancer research. Last year the team raised $4,200 and hopes to double that amount this year.
“I just hope this event tops last year’s and makes a lot of money,” Bogner said. “It’s just fun to get with Zeta Tau Alpha, work with them and just try to raise money for a great cause and play baseball while we’re doing it; it can’t get any better than that.”
Sports Reporter Katie O’Keefe can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.