Coach Randy Mazey and returning team leaders of the West Virginia University Baseball, including Justin Fox, Taylor Munden and Ross Vance, met with the media Saturday, February 7, in the Jerry West Lounge of the WVU Coliseum and had one shared theme: Team mentality.
The Mountaineer baseball team will have many new faces on the diamond this season, having 27 of the 36 players being first or second year players, so many question how the season will turn out for this young team.
Vance, a redshirt-junior pitcher from McKinney, Texas, shared that he believes the Mountaineers have some good stuff to work with and that the returners are good leaders who are already steering the new players in the right direction.
“We greatly underachieved last year considering the players we had,” said Vance. “This year, the returning guys know we underachieved so I think we’ll be better than we were last year.”
It was no secret that the players and Coach Mazey were not pleased with last year’s record , 24-16 and 7-7 in conference play, and the team is using the negatives as motivation.
“In this league, experience wins,’ said Mazey. “You gotta learn how to win.”
Vance shared that Coach Mazey shares the same ‘sour taste in his mouth’ as the returning players have over the fact that they didn’t do as well as they should have considering the higher draft picks that were on the team last year.
“This team can show that it takes a team to be good, not just a few good players.’ said Vance.
Coach Mazey went on to share that with such a young team, the Mountaineers will be seen as the underdog. With the weather in West Virginia, the Mountaineers do not have the same luxury as southern teams of practicing outside. Mazey shared that the first 20 games will be used to figure out the lineup for when conference starts.
“Coaches in the Big 12 know more experienced teams win, and we want to be the underdog and sneak up on people,’ said Mazey.
Coach Mazey went on to emphasize how important teamwork really is and shared that the team has good chemistry, but said he’ll have to see how the chemistry is after losses and will see how the team responds when things don’t go well.
“I tell them all the time, if you watch the national championship football game, or final 4, every coach that does the interview after they’ve been handed the trophy, you could almost hit rewind because they say ‘this team has great leadership, they play together, they’ve been through a lot of adversity,’ said Mazey. “It’s the formula for success.”
Coach Mazey is confident that if the team can stay together through the tough times, they can overachieve.
The Mountaineers start the 2015 season against Mazey’s alma mater on February 13, 2015 at Clemson for a 3-game series.
By: Mara Regling – BlueGoldSports.com Baseball Writer
— Twitter: @__maranoelle