Jan. 23, 2014
By KAILEY ADAMS
OhioBobcats.com - Staff Writer
ATHENS, Ohio - With the 2014 Ohio University baseball season just around the corner, OhioBobcats.com sits down with some of last year's top players as they prepare for the upcoming year.
What are you most excited about for the 2014 season?
"I'm most excited about just having an all-around better team. Last year we struggled a lot and just didn't have a lot of depth. This year we have a lot of new guys that can really fill those holes."
How did you prepare for the upcoming season?
"Staying in Athens during the summer turned out to be a really good thing. We had a lot of new faces on the team and it was really good for them to get used to the culture of the team."
What advice have you given the newcomers in preparation for the season?
"I try to lead by example. I'm not a very vocal guy. I just do my own thing and lead by example."
What's your favorite baseball memory with Ohio University?
"We were playing Buffalo in a MAC Tournament elimination game. It was the bottom of the ninth - we were down to our last out - and Tyler Wells hit a game tying home run. We didn't end up winning, but it's probably my best team memory."
Who's your biggest rival?
"Definitely Miami. Whenever we get a chance to play them - home, away or neutral field - it doesn't matter. I just look forward to playing them and beating them."
Do you have any game day rituals?
"It's kind of weird, but it's stood true my whole career. I have a Tampa Bay Rays hat and whenever I DON'T wear it, I don't perform very well. So I always make an effort to wear that hat to the field every game."
What has it been like transitioning from your role as a pitcher to now being a regular outfielder?
"I tore my labrum and it ended my time as a pitcher. It was something different. I relied on my arm a lot - but not having it anymore made me realize there are other parts of the game I can improve on. I worked on my defensive skills a lot and did a lot of rehab with the training staff."
What has been the biggest overall team improvement since last season?
"We've had a lot of improvement with our team chemistry and the pitching staff. We had really good pitchers last year; we just didn't have enough of them. We have a lot of new pitchers and they're all really talented."
Who has been the biggest influence in your baseball career?
"No question it is my dad. He shaped how I go about things and gave me a love for sports in general."
Who is your favorite professional team and player?
"I'd have to go with the Cincinnati Reds. They're my favorite team to watch for sure. My favorite player - I know this is kind of weird - but Homer Bailey. I know he's not everyone's favorite, but whenever he's pitching I love to tune in and watch."
Who's the best dancer on the team?
"He'll probably kill me for saying this, but I'm going to say Garrett Black. He's always dancing or doing something."
Who's the team "goof ball"?
"We definitely have a few. Probably Spencer Sapp. He's a goofy kid, but we all love him to death."
Do you have any jokes or pranks with the other players?
"John Adryan and I always like to joke around in the weight room and call each other "little boys" - which is funny because he's a big guy. We just joke around."
Being roommates with Jovon Johnson - a linebacker on the Ohio football team - who would you say is the strongest person in your house?
"Probably Jovon. He's a beast."
What's the team goal for 2014?
"Winning the MAC championship. That's always the goal and I think it's attainable with the team this year."
What are your plans after graduation this spring?
"If a career in baseball doesn't work out, I'd like to get my Masters degree in Fitness and Wellness - hopefully at Central Florida. I'd like to pursue something in strength and conditioning. I've really liked how our strength coach, Zac Brouliette does things and I think it could be a career path."