BY ARIANA BARRETT
UMW’s club baseball team is excited to kick off their season against James Madison University (JMU) on Saturday, Mar. 24.
This season, they are under the new presidency of Dustin Thomas, a junior math major. He’s been a part of the club baseball team for two years and as an aspiring high school baseball coach, he is excited to be in this position.
This year, Thomas got rid of the three year old uniforms and replaced them all with new ones of his own design.
“Gotta look good to play good.” said Thomas, referring to the new uniforms.
Along with new uniforms, Thomas has some new players on his team. Including former varsity player, Hayes Gottlieb. Bobby Salierno and Ryan Webster, who were also candidates for UMW’s varsity team, are also new additions. Altogether, they have four former varsity players on their team.
“We’re going to be good. We just need to cut down the errors. Errors kill the momentum.” Said Hayes Gottlieb, a former varsity player and current outfielder for the club team. Having former varsity players on the team adds to the experience and overall quality.
“I feel as if we added some good pieces this semester and we’re excited to be disruptive to other teams postseason aspirations.” said Thomas, who is preparing his team for JMU, their biggest competition.
Even though they are facing steep competition, they are still remembering to have fun.
“The level of competition is pretty good and it’s still playing ball without as much pressure.” said Gottlieb. “It’s a lot more relaxed, it’s all about going out there and having fun with the boys.”
It is common for former varsity players to join club sports team because it allows them to still play the game they love without the stress of a real coach.
“I like Dustin’s coaching style. He puts the best guys out on the field, but he also gives everybody a chance to play, which is something that didn’t happen on the varsity team.” Said Gottlieb. “There’s less favoritism happening on this team because we’re all friends with each other.”
Sophomore and outfielder/pitcher Adam Newburger, agrees that having Thomas as a coach is beneficial. Thomas has been playing baseball since he was seven-years-old and is a player coach for a collegiate summer wooden bat league, making him more than qualified for this position.
“He’s very approachable. As opposed to a traditional setting where the coach is a separate entity, Dustin is really part of the team.” Said Newburger.
UMW’s club baseball team is now a part of the National Club Baseball Association (NCBA), making their scheduled more structured than ever before. They’re scheduled to play against large schools this season, including JMU, Virginia Commonwealth University, and University of Maryland.
“With this change I’m really excited to be back on the field with the guys and to really improve overall as a team.” Said Newburger.
UMW will play away against JMU in a three game series this weekend.