Guilford baseball preps for 2019 year

Guilford College baseball hold an intrasquad scrimmage on Feb. 5.//Photo by Andrew Walker/The Guilfordian

With the winter sports season coming to a close and spring sports season fast approaching, that means it’s time for Guilford College baseball. After finishing the 2018 season with a 20-20-1 overall record, and a 0.400 winning percentage in conference play, the Quakers look to bounce back this season and take the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) by storm.

The Quakers finished short of their mark last season with a .500 winning percentage. The team completed the season feeling as if they still had something to prove.

“We had a tough season last year, but there are a lot of returners who have been working to get faster and strong to help us become a better team this upcoming season,” first-year pitcher Matt Smith said. “I feel that that fifth is just a number placed on us that we can change.”

Thus attitude of constant improvement will be one of the driving forces for the Quakers’ upcoming season.

This season the Guilford Quakers have brought in 10 first-years to help contribute to the success of their team. They have quickly bonded with the returning players and grasped hold to this looming idea of commitment within the team.

“Our (first-year) class will play a big role through our commitment to the team. We’ve been playing this sport for a long time and we love the game. Along with that, we understand our roles and how we can contribute to helping this team get where it needs and wants to be,” Smith said.

Along with these new players, the Quakers return a host of influential and talented student-athletes to the field to help carry them to a successful season.

Senior outfielder/pitcher Mitchell Stumpo returns after hitting .301 last season and pitching 64.2 innings in 14 appearances.

This season, the attitude sorrounding Guilford baseball is centralized on commitment. This idea of being “all-in” has sprinkled down from the returning players into the new first-years and help bond the team together.

“Guys are really showing their commitment by hitting the weight room and being out in the cold practicing day in and day out,” said Smith

This commitment will not only be the backbone of the team but has also led to high expectations throughout the program.

This up-and-coming season the Quakers will return head coach Nick Black ’02 for his 14th season.

When asked about the coach’s expectations for the team, Smith emphasized the recurring motif of commitment that surrounds this year’s highly talented and optimistic baseball team, as well as the strengths that they will lean on.

“I feel that the baseball team is looking very strong. We have good bats and a great pitching staff leading the way,” Smith said.

Pitching is one of the team’s main focuses seeing as how they struggled immensely from the mound last season and were forced to rely on their offense in tight games.

“Our coaches are expecting a good bit out of us, seeing that we’ve shown so much potential this past fall season,” said Smith.

Through their strong commitment and positive attitudes, the Quakers have high expectations this upcoming season. The baseball team looks to bounce back from struggling previously and put their season in the hands of their senior leadership.

The Guilford College Quakers look to embark on their journey to the ODAC championship by kicking things off on Friday, Feb. 8, at the Huntingdon Firehouse Classic Tournament in Montgomery, Alabama.