SR Jay Dantzler - GT Baseball

Jay Dantzler is entering into his fifth year on the Georgia Tech baseball team. Jay is looked up to as one of the leaders on the team and Jay talks to us about the upcoming season, the expectations, and his thoughts on some of the new players on the squad following today's opening game of the White and Gold World Series.

Did you play in any of the leagues this past summer?

"I did not play any this summer. I had an internship so I got a little work experience under my belt. I played three games this summer but spent most of my time working."

Was it good to get away from baseball and take a break?

"It was good to take a break. I have to focus on some different things. If baseball doesn't work out I want to make sure I'm ready for the real world when I get out of here. It's good to get a break and I just had to come back this fall and work hard and get back in the swing of things."

You're one of the veterans of the team. Are you trying to be a leader on the team?

"Definitely, it's one of those things I feel I haven't had to step into as the guys are giving me respect and I try to be a leader to them. I feel comfortable with all the guys on the team and they feel comfortable with me. We've really been working well together as a team."

Is your approach any different this year knowing you may be a starter?

"The same as always; I try to get along with that mentality all the time. I just want to be consistent when I go out there. I've worked hard every offseason and every fall and it's been the same this year. It is a little different having a little added pressure but I'm ready to step up and take the job."

How important is it to get off to a fast start?

"It's real important to get off to a fast start. I know there are a lot of people expecting big things out of us and we want to prove ourselves right out of the shoot. We'll be ready to go and I think we have a lot to prove. We need to start off fast."

Is this the deepest team you've seen since you've been here?

"By far, this is a very deep team that we have right now. My redshirt freshman year was the team that went to Omaha. I see a lot of similarities with this team and that team. That's definitely a good thing. We're deep at every position. We're deep in pitching and have a lot of good arms out of the pen. I'm seeing a lot of similarities between those two teams. I have a lot of hope for us."

Can you tell us a little about some of the freshmen?

"We've had a lot of freshmen come out here and do well. We've had quite a few pitchers that have stepped up so far. Luke Bard has thrown very well. Ben McKinney has thrown well for us. All the pitchers have pretty much stepped up and done their job. Our position players have done well. Brandon Thomas has been really working hard everyday to come out here and get better. We have some walk-ons that have come out. Sam Dove is really impressing everyone so far. He's doing a great job."

Have there been any surprises among the returning players?

"Everyone has been consistent so far. One that has stood out is Jacob Esch. He's really shown me a lot this fall. He's playing great defensively and swinging the bat a lot better than he has before. Him in particular I've been really impressed with. Mat Skole has been swinging the bat well and he's going to come back and have another good year for us."

One of the big question marks is who is going to backup Cole Leonida behind the plate?

"That's still a question mark. Matt Skole and Thomas Nichols have done a lot of catching for us. They both impressed me behind the dish. That's been a good thing. Right now I don't know who the backup guy is going to be at this point. Thomas was injured last week so he hasn't been able to do too much and Matt Skole has really stepped up back there. I'm 100% confident with him back there right now."

Has the team talked about expectations for the year?

"It's always one of our goals to go to Omaha. Right now we're just taking it day by day. We haven't looked too far into the future. We're trying to get better every day as individuals and as a team. That's where we're at right now. We haven't set any team goals as of yet. Right now, it's just to get better every day." Top Stories