Bearkat team hopes to suprise in 2001

In a league filled with balanced competition, the SHSU baseball team is looking forward to dominating its opponents. Despite being picked to finish eighth in the Southland by conference coaches, the Bearkats are determined to prevail.They picked us eighth because theyre hoping well be inclined to follow their predictions, said head coach John Skeeters. Considering that we have five pitchers that are as good as anyone else, the outlook is positive. Skeeters, who has an overall career record of 839 wins and 592 losses, has led Bearkat baseball teams to 12 national post-season playoff appearances in 24 years of coaching, and is one of only 33 Division I coaches to have 800 or more career victories.Ive been at this a long time, I dont get too excited or depressed either way; if the players will do everything asked of them, and they do it as coached a repeated amount of times, they will reach success, Skeeters said.Last season the team started off strong with eight consecutive wins in conference play, but fell short soon after senior pitcher Andy Warren was forced to sit out the remainder of the season due to a back injury. We were playing a lot of young and inexperienced players last year. When you do that, strange things happen; mistakes in the game are going to happen, but if youre rested, if you have been eating right, and keep your strength up youre less likely to make the mistakes, Skeeters said. The Bearkats finished the 2000 season with 25 wins and 29 losses overall.The team also lost key offensiveplayer and former All-American Kelly Eddlemon, who finished last season with a .378 batting average. He was our number one hitter, he was an All-American, and he got drafted. He carried our team offensively; hopefully we can have someone or a couple of people that will step up for us and lead us offensively, said senior pre-season All-Conference catcher Seth Foreman.This seasons preview includes six returning starters and three starting pitchers, and also the addition of seven talented rookie pitchers. Rookie talent is still rookie talent, theyre going to have to mature real fast or theyll get their ears pinned back by the competition. Skeeters said, But I have high hopes for our rookie pitching staff.Three of the returning starters hit above .300 last season including senior first baseman Jason Harrison (.318), left fielder Clint House (.313), and designated hitter John Warmke (.305). Theres no reason not to expect them to play better, Skeeters said. Freshman infielder Andrew Anders from Brazoswood High School is also expected to be a key performer as well, according to Skeeters.We look pretty solid all around defensively, Foreman said. The main thing this season is that we need to never becontent with where we are because, as soon as we feel relaxed, the next team that we play, whether theyre ranked first or last, can still beat us. We have our pitching back, and we have our starters back; were going to win more games, said junior Blake Davis.We need to maintain better focus throughout the year, especially late in the season, and we cant let key conference series slip out of our hands, said senior designated hitter John Warmke.The ultimate goal is winning conference, and then winning the conference tournament. Its realistic, even though we are picked eighth in conference, said Foreman. Anybody can beat anybody. If youre hot then youre going to be the team to beat. We need to play every game as hard as we can and understand that we have to lose games to win games.The Bearkats will get the season underway this weekend when they travel to New Orleans, La. to play Tulane on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Fridays game will start at 2 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays games will begin at 1 p.m.I think competition is the best leader of all because if they refused to be led by competition then theyll fall off the ladder; if youre going to survive as an athlete you have to survive the competition, Skeeters said. I know what it takes to be a winner at this level. If you get enough players who are willing to do those things, to practice with focus, you have a chance to win a championship.When asked who his toughest opponents will be this season coach Skeeters answered, the next one.

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