While the wind and snow slowly start to vanish, a new season brings excitement to Minnesota State. Pitchers, catchers and batters have reported and geared up for spring training. Coming into the year as the reigning NSIC champions, the group looks to defend their title and are shooting for the National title entering the spring season.
Last weekend, the Mavs defeated Lindenwood University in a Saturday doubleheader but lost Sunday’s noon matchup. However, that has not been overly concerning for the Mavs at this point. The goal of spring training is to help get the team ready for when the actual season will begin, in two weeks. Even Head Coach Matt Magers has been focused more on growing closer as a team, rather than winning meaningless games.
“It’s been exciting to get back after playing inside for a while and just being able to wake up and not see a massive snowstorm. It’s always good to get back to playing and this year, we have so many new guys on the roster. So just being able to go out and have fun down in Missouri before the conference season starts,” said Magers.
However, now will be the time to put that newfound desire to the test. While many students get to enjoy spring break, the Mavs will be traveling to Florida for the RussMatt Central Florida Invitational. The Invitational is a weeklong event that invites over 250 college teams down to compete against other teams from all collegiate levels. This brings MSU a chance to go up against some of the best ball players that the NCAA has to offer.
The first opponent that they are scheduled to face is Gannon University. Based out of Erie, Pennsylvania, they are a very respected team in both the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) and the NCAA Atlantic Region. While they have had a slow start to their spring training, they are ready to take the next step as a unit.
One of the key men to watch out for in this matchup is Junior Infielder Miguel Vega. The native of Florida, Puerto Rico burst onto the scene for the Golden Knights after riding the bench his first year, notching a .328 batting average, 11 doubles and RBIs. However, his one downfall is that he also led his team in errors last season. Even if he is still trying to master the glove, he is an artist when he is up at the plate.
While the competition going into the Invitational is certainly stiff, it is of no concern for Coach Magers. The goal he is looking for this time is simply team building and getting experience. Once they open at home is when the real games start.
“I think the best thing about this trip is getting the guys together, where they’re traveling in the vans, staying in the condos, not having to worry about school. It’s just an atmosphere where they can focus on waking up, playing baseball, and bonding. It helps them get into that routine of getting up and playing baseball while also developing chemistry going forward,” said Magers.
Write to Charlie Groebner at Charles.Groebner@mnsu.edu
Header Photo: The Men’s Maverick Baseball are in high spirits as the team rolls into spring training with a 4-2 start to the season. The MSU team heads off to the RussMatt Central Florida Invitational. (File photo)