The boys of spring baseball are gearing up for the 2011 season. 41 NBC caught up with the Mercer baseball team as they prepare for their opener against
"We really the past few weeks have been coming together as a team chemistry wise. The talent's always been there. We are really excited, I am personally. I've never been more excited for a season," said Bears closer, J.T. Odom.
Odom can’t wait for the bears to hit the field and start the 20-11 season. The senior will play a big part of the club's defensive game; something Head Coach Craig Gibson says could take his team to greater heights.
"We won 38 games last year we have 36 of those wins back. They've gotten better throwing the ball in the strike zone and really getting better defensively," said Gibson.
Although the bears collectively have a solid pitching staff heading into the season, Gibson says he needs a go to guy to step forward.
"We need a guy to step up on the mound and be a dominant number one for us. We have several guys that can do that. And we just need one of those arms to develop and give us a great number one," said Gibson.
Coming off a championship season, this Bears club has extremely high expectations. Teammates say success will come by staying grounded and taking the season one game at a time.
"Try to stay level headed. Not try to get too high with the highs or too low with the lows. So we're just coming in preparing any way we can taking ground balls and hitting everyday just try to get in a rhythm for the opening series," said 3rd Baseman, Jacob Tanis.
Concentration is key in baseball. Keeping the ball in the zone was the off-season focus for J.T. Odom.
"Definitely throwing strikes. I was a little wild the past few years and last year. This summer I was really able to work on that and just being able to focus on little parts of the game like holding runners close and that kind of stuff," said Odom.
The off-season gave the bears an opportunity to grow as teammates and as individuals. When the game’s on the line in the bottom of the ninth each teammate knows they stand together as one.
"We all feel as though we're the same you know on the same level. There's no hazing or joking around, messing around, everybody treats everybody the same way. Freshman the same as seniors so we all kind of get along and can deal with that," said