Happy February everyone! You know what that means?
It is officially the month of spring training.
Last year, the baseball team finished the season 32-17 overall and 19-8 in conference play.
The Pioneers made a run at the River States Conference (RSC) Championship with a No.2 seed, but losses to IU Kokomo and Midway sent Point Park packing.
No. 4 Rio Grande ended up winning the tournament over IU Kokomo the next day.
The softball team finished their season 22-18 overall and 12-6 in RSC play.
The No. 3-seeded women saw a bit more success in the postseason than the baseball team, defeating three opponents (and eliminating two of those) before losing to the eventual tournament champions, No. 2 IU Southeast.
This year, I expect both teams to remain about where they ended last season.
Ten seniors graduated from the baseball program, but only four from the softball program.
Ten seems like a high number of losses, and do not get me wrong, there was a lot of talent that graduated with those players. I am not sweating the losses, however, because the baseball team has proved its depth in the past.
My prediction for the baseball team is a slow start that picks up after the first few series to a steady season.
On the softball side of things, four seniors is not a huge cut, but I am not discounting the talent that those four brought to the Pioneers.
Head coach Michelle Coultas has proven before that she is a talented recruiter, so I have faith in her that the holes left by the for graduates will be filled by the returners and the recruiting class.
Going into this season, the baseball team is ranked No. 4 in the 2020 RSC Baseball Preseason Poll behind No. 1 IU Southeast, No. 2 IU Kokomo and No. 3 Rio Grande.
The softball team, on the other hand, is ranked No. 2 in the 2020 RSC Softball Preseason Poll, behind conference rival Rio Grande.
When looking at the returning roster, two names stick out to me from the baseball team: Cole Horew and Ryan Huber.
Horew has been a standout for the Pioneers since he started as a freshman, and has only gotten better as he has continued his career on the field.
Huber is one of the only veteran pitchers on this year’s team, so I think he is going to take a natural leadership position within the pitching staff this season.
My top two from the softball team? Katie Tarr and Courtney Blocher.
Tarr, like Huber, is going to rise into that leadership role for the pitching staff. Tarr has proven herself on the mound again and again, and I am sure that this, her senior season, will be no different.
Blocher, now also a senior, has shown her talents in the box and in the infield. She is both an offensive and defensive threat to opponents.
I see nothing short of success for both of these teams, and I am excited for that preview starting in just a few weeks.