The standards are set high for Mount Union’s 2013 baseball season.
The coaches as well as the players have their eyes on the prize to take home the NCAA Championship.
The Raiders finished second in the Ohio Athletic Conference last season, but the team has confidence that they will make it all the way this year.
“We were so close to winning last year. We need to be more consistent and finish off games as a team, which is something we didn’t always do last year,” Anthony Morino, sophomore, said. “If we do that, I think we’ll make it to the NCAA tournament.”
Most of the ‘12 starting players will be returning to the field this spring. Head Coach Paul Hesse believes this will be beneficial for the Raiders.
“The team’s experience is what is going to help them this season,” Hesse said. “We’re physically and mentally more mature this year, so that puts us in a better position to win.”
Zach Carlino, junior captain, agrees that this will make the team stronger.
“Most of us have been playing together for three years now. We’ve become good friends and that will definitely help on the field,” Carlino said.
The determination to win is reflected in the practices that the team has had so far this season.
“Our practices are a lot more intense this year and so is the conditioning,” Carlino said. “But all the extra effort will prepare us to win.”
Hesse said the reason for the tough practices is to push the athletes past what they think they are capable of doing; to break down their mental walls.
The plan for the team is to build off of the foundation that was formed last season and continue to grow from there.
The season will start for the Raiders with eleven games played in Winter Haven, Fla. as part of the spring training trip. The team will host Wittenberg University for the home opener on Mar. 24 at 23rd Street Field in Alliance.