After starting the season 29-10 and riding a current five-game win streak, the John Wood baseball jumped in the national ranking once again this week. The Blazers are up to 11th in the country after checking in a 14 the previous week. Coach Wathen's men have been solid in each facet of the game. Their bats are live and their arms are plentiful, as every player has stepped it up...
Coach Wathen: "We've just gotten some incredibly individual performances. Both on the hitting side and on the hitting side. I guess two main areas I would probably emphasize are the fact that we've gotten a good starting pitching performance in the majority of our outtings. And we tell them, that's the way you compete at this level. Every time you go out there, you send a quality pitcher out there."
Brennen Hurley: "Our pitching from last year is just totally opposite. We have three really good arms. Then we have the bullpen who is working for them, keeping us in games if we're down or finishing the win."
Brock Best: "Pitchers have been keeping games close. We know we got run support so we don't have to worry too much, stress out like we did last year a little bit, put too much pressure on ourselves. We know the hitters are going to score runs for us, so we can stay relaxed out there."
Successful teams mostly all have one quality, Leadership. It's what's helped the Blazer's get off to their fast start. It stems from at the top, right down to the players.
Brennen: "This comes from the hard work we've had in the fall and all winter, and then Coach Whathen's always keeping us real sharpe. Whether it's in practice here or in the weight room or just whatever. Coach Whathen's always on to us. Us sophomore's do a good of keeping the freshman in line. It just translates to the game. We are sharpe in the game right now and playing good ball."
Brock: "The sophomore's this year have really stepped up. We got great leadership, being great role models for the freshman. The freshman look after us so we have to set a good example of what to do so they know what to do and when to do it."
The road will get a lot more difficult in the next several weeks as John Wood gets in to the bulk of their schedule. Coach Whathen's message to the team is there's still a lot of work left to be done.
Coach: "These ranking, I keep telling them don't mean anything. There's always a long way to go. We happen to still have on the schedule, two of the top teams right up there with us. Those teams, year in and year out have been near the top. We need to tell these guys it's not magic that's got us here, it's not luck. It's hard work, paying attention to detail and doing the things we've taught you to do."
Brennen: "We're going to be playing two of the best teams in our conference right now the next two weeks. We just have to have timely hitting. We're going to see better pitching then we have been, big two-out hits, like I said timely hitting, pitchers keeping us in ball games and the bullpen coming in and shutting it down for us."