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Spring sports preview 2013

Sports Editor

Published: Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Updated: Wednesday, February 6, 2013 17:02


Baseball

                The Ottawa University baseball program will look to carry the late success of the 2012 season into the start of 2013.

                The Braves finished the 2012 season with the overall record 21-31 under first-year head coach Cory Blaine. The season came to an end in the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference (KCAC) Tournament with a one run loss to Kansas Wesleyan in 11 innings.

                “There were some bumps in the road,” Blaine said. “We got off to a slow start. But, we stayed the course and finished the year on a pretty strong note.”

                The Braves started preparing for this season in early fall with practice and morning workouts. This was somewhat of a transition period, as they were trying to bring new players into the program.

                “The fall season was very frustrating as the new guys were struggling with the change to college baseball and the demands it takes physically and mentally,” senior infielder Andrew See said.

                Blaine agreed by saying he felt as if they missed an opportunity to progress as a team.

At this point, the Braves were challenged by the coaching staff to improve going into the winter workouts.

                “They have responded incredibly,” Blaine said. “They worked extremely hard in our off-season conditioning program while performing well in the classroom, posting a team 3.12 grade point average. The guys are focused and have brought good energy each day.”

                The boys of the diamond list 11 seniors on their roster—a group that Blain describes as motivated. He said they want to go out with a bang and hold some high expectations.

                 “We only have a certain amount of innings left in our baseball careers,” See said. “This team is capable of playing a certain type of baseball that can keep us winning consistently throughout the season.  I see us contending for a conference regular season championship and conference tournament championship.”

                The Braves open their 2013 season on the road Friday, against NCAA Division II opponent Arkansas Tech University (ATU) in Russellville, Ark. This game poses to be a friendly rivalry as the ATU Head Coach, Dave Dawson, is a former standout baseball player and graduate of Ottawa University. 

 

Softball

                The Lady Braves will look to keep their recent tradition alive and battle for the KCAC conference championship once again.

In their 2012 season Ottawa softball finished with an overall record of 30-22 and was 14-4 in KCAC conference play.

                Playing in the regular season conference title game is nothing new for the Lady Braves. In the past three seasons, on the diamond the ladies have won the conference title, were co-champs with Bethany College and fell short in the conference title game.

                Ottawa’s team is composed of 10 seniors who will be expected to lead with their experience and tradition of winning.

                They will look to continue their success in their season home opener tomorrow against Graceland University (Iowa). They will be back in action Saturday on the road against Baker University.

Golf

                Finishing a few strokes short of a top three appearance, the OU men’s golf team ended their 2012 season with a strong finish in the KCAC Championships.

                The men’s team opens their 2013 season March 4, in McPherson, Kan., for the Bethany College Invitational at Turkey Creek.

                “The overall goal of the team is to become more consistent and be able to concentrate and play for both days of each tournament,” sophomore Spencer Ellsperman said. “We want to be more competitive with the top teams in the conference.”

The Braves golf team finished fourth in the KCAC Championships, securing a fourth place finish for the 2012 season. They finished the 2012 fall season in third place. They slipped to fifth in the conference standings during the spring but were able to overtake Friends University during the 54-hole championships held at Buffalo Dunes in Garden City, Kan. 

                Sophomore Tyler Kopatich finished second in the championships, 7 strokes over par. This set school single and three round records at Buffalo Dunes.

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