Spring is around the corner so it is time for Griffon baseball. The Missouri Western baseball team starts their season on Thursday, February 9th at Arkadelphia, Arkansas against Ouachita Baptist University. The Griffs look to begin their season with a great start and are looking forward to bouncing back from a 13-32 season the year before. This season will be the last season for long-time head coach Buzz Verduzsco, who has himself a successful career during his time at Missouri Western.
Including an MIAA regular season championship, four NCAA Regional Berths, and MIAA Coach of the Year in 2013. With this being his last season, Coach Verduzsco focuses on the games this season and discusses his expectations for the team this upcoming season.
"Well, one thing for sure, this being my last season here, we're expecting a very competitive team as it relates to the league is very tough..." said Verduzco. "As you know, we'll definitely have some strengths on this team. I think pitching is going to be our steady point. As well as defense, and I think our offense will be consistent enough to really be competitive. So I think those are the three things that we’re kind of looking forward to heading into the season so we look forward to it."
The Griffons showed flashes of talent at their practices and look battle ready for this upcoming season. The coaching staff has laid out their game plans and executed them in practice to perfection to win their games, especially in such a talented league of the MIAA. Over time the players, both upper and underclassmen, will improve to put their talents at their highest. Senior catcher, Hunter Olson, discusses his personal goals for this season.
"It's just improvement for me, looking to improve every single year. You know, I've been here quite a while now. So I have high expectations" said Olson. "So just looking forward to improving every single year and being a leader and enjoying this year's baseball."
There are plenty of new faces on the roster and players that are in their second year of playing baseball at Missouri Western who are adjusting to the program. The upperclassmen, with experience that they had over the past couple of seasons, look to help out the underclassmen to adjust to the game at a college level, especially in an extremely talented league.
Junior infielder, Ryan Neise, discusses how the upperclassmen can help the underclassmen this season.
"We strive here, confidence is contagious. You know, us upperclassmen are confident and playing at a high pace and a high level” said Neise. “You know, the freshmen and the younger underclassmen, they tend to just gradually come with us, you know, we bring them along as we go, and they've done a great job of being confident and attacking the game all year."
The team is looking forward to sending coach Verduzco with a title to finish his amazing career. But, that road to the title all starts with the first game. Confidence and execution will be crucial for this team, but they are ready to battle it out with the rest of the teams in the MIAA.
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