The recent weather may have you fooled, but it is almost time for another season of baseball.
On Friday, Feb. 15, the Winona State University baseball team will officially begin another year, as the team will travel to Pittsburg, Kansas, for three days of games against Pittsburg State University.
“I think that the early season games are very important to our success. We are able to finally get outside and get the first bit of live game action this season,” Sophomore pitcher Auston Savary said. “We just have to use these non-conference games to gain momentum into the conference schedule.”
Savary returns to the team after successful first year, where he struck out 43 batters and had a record of four wins and one loss. He also played first base and went to bat for the team and had two hits and an RBI in seven attempts.
Despite the cold, Savary said that has not stopped the team from preparing for the sunny days ahead.
“We are just showing up to practice ready to work and get better every day,” Savary said. “We can’t control the weather and the only things we can control is our attitude and effort as Coach Poock says. We are still getting quality practices in and that just the attitude heading into each practice for us.”
Also returning to the team is junior first basemen Sam Kohnle, who has high expectations for the Warriors this year after their 18-23 (17-15 in conference play) record last year.
“Our goals as a team this year is to build off the success we had this past year and make it back to the NSIC conference tournament, while hopefully doing some damage and winning some big games when we get there,” Kohnle said.
Kohnle also looks to improve on his successful season a year ago where, he led the team in batting average with a .361, and in RBIs with 29 despite not having a single homerun, as well as to continue to become a leader for the team.
“As for my development with the team coming here I always looked up to my older teammates trying to learn from them as well as much as I could since they had experience at the collegiate level,” Kohnle said. “Now as I’m going into my junior season I’m still trying to learn and improve every day, but now I can see the shift of some of the younger guys looking up to the upperclassmen and trying to learn from them. It’s a pretty exciting thing to see.”
As action begins this week for the team, there is still a wait for the Warriors’ home debut Loughrey Field, which will not come until March 16 when they host Northern State University. For Kohnle, the games in Winona are the ones he looks forward to the most.
“We play one of the greatest games so it’s always great to get out on the field and play. I especially look forward to playing at home at Maxwell-Loughrey field,” Kohnle said. “We have great fans and usually draw a pretty good crowd, so it’s always a good time.”
As for his teammate Savary, he’s just looking forward to getting the new season started.
“I am most looking forward to the first game at Pittsburg State because it is our chance to get our season started and hopefully off to a good start,” Savary said. “We just have to keep focused and we will be ready for game one.”