By Nick Kieser
The Volunteer State Community College Pioneers baseball team has won 11 games in a row, as of March 4. Most recently, the Pioneers swept a three-game series against Columbia State, March 3-4.
Collin Hopkins, catcher, commented on the streak that the Pioneers are on.
“It is preparation for conference play. We need momentum for the games that truly matter. We have that fluff,” said Hopkins.
With the 11-game win streak, the Pioneers are second in the TCCAA with a record of 11-3, behind Walters State with a record of 19-3.
“If we win the conference series we are going to be in a better position for the playoffs. A good playoff spot will help us out in the postseason,” said Raul Mercado, an outfielder and native of the Dominican Republic.
Applying Mercado’s comment, Hopkins seconded what his teammate said on how the conference games matter more than they appear.
“For a sweep, it would be better to get a conference sweep,” said Hopkins.
Despite sweeping a team that is out of state, Hopkins is seeking to win conference games and more importantly maybe sweep some in-conference teams this season.
Jason Barrett, assistant coach, spoke on the win streak and conference games that are beginning.
“It certainly gives us more confidence after starting 0-3. It doesn’t mean a whole lot going into the conference season. The conference season is what really matters the most. It was a chance to get good confidence back,” said Barrett.
The Pioneers will play Dyersburg State and Walters State in the next three weeks. All opponents are in the same conference, and nine games will be played between March 9-17. The only non-conference team played in this span is Joliet College on March 12-13.
“No matter who you are playing you still have to play the game. You still have to get outs. You still have to defend,” said Logan Maloney, assistant coach.
Ryan Hunt, head coach, called the conference teams “powerhouses” for how much depth each team has.
“You need depth, especially to battle in this conference,” said Barrett.
“We got to make the simple plays. No matter who we play, you don’t necessarily prepare differently for each team because then you are losing track of the goal that you are trying to do, and that’s just winning,” said Maloney.
Hopkins commented on whether he thinks the streak will continue.
“There’s no telling. Baseball is baseball. You could be the better team and lose any day,” said Hopkins.
The Pioneers will go to Dyersburg, Tennessee, March 9, and play a weekend series.
“We can do whatever we put our minds to. Keep the guys focused on one day at a time,” said Maloney.