By Steve Sica
Spring is coming and the Broncs are finally back on the diamond. After a series wins at Norfolk (2-4) on Feb. 24-25, the Broncs are looking to continue their early success against Radford (5-2) for a three-game series on March 1-3.
Overall, the Broncs (2-1) felt confident in their first performance of the season.
“This was the first time we’ve been on dirt and grass in a while,” Head Coach Barry Davis said. “So I thought we handled ourselves pretty well out there.”
Senior pitcher Chris Taylor also felt that last weekend posted a solid start.
“I think our overall performance this weekend was pretty good,” Taylor said. “It was the first weekend, so there is always going to be some good and bad in the way we play. But now we know what we have to work on.”
Although the outcomes were positive, Davis and the Broncs felt that the team still has some rust to shake off.
“The hitting could improve, and some things don’t look as sharp as they should,” Davis said. “The winter has been tough, but the guys’ attitudes are good. They recognize that we have to play a little bit better.”
The Broncs will have a tough test coming up this weekend when they head back to Virginia to play against Radford.
“Radford is going to be very good,” Davis said. “They’ve beaten some quality opponents. They’re not going to be intimidated by us at all, but it’s a great challenge for our team.”
The Broncs know that Radford is one of the better teams in the Big South.
“They’re a good team,” sophomore pitcher Kurt Sowa said. “So we’ll have to just get mentally ready more than anything, since we don’t have a full week of practice as we would normally have.”
After the Broncs’ trip to Radford is over, they’ll head back north to play against two more quality teams — Lafayette and Lehigh.
“We know this week that we are going up against better teams,” Taylor said. “This is a short week for us so we’re just going to try and have a good week of practice and go over scouting reports and be prepared as much as we can.”
The players agree that in order to compete with a team like Radford, they’re going to have to make the most of this week’s practices.
“We are going to work hard on things in practice this week,” sophomore infielder Greg Fazio said. “Things that we could have done better in games and continue working as we had been preseason.”
It’s still early in the year for the Broncs but, with a whole season ahead of them, Davis isn’t stressing too much just yet.
“Certainly it’s a long year, and we don’t want to get too crazy,” Davis said. “You’re never as good as you think you are, but you’re never as bad as you think you are either.”
For Taylor, this will be his last season at Rider, and he’s looking to make the most of it.
“This season is especially important because you want to go out on top and anything else wouldn’t be good enough,” Taylor said. “This could be the last time I play baseball, so I want it to be a season to remember.”