Nebraska conducted their first scrimmage of the 2002-2003 baseball season. Yeah, it's a long ways way yet, but for a team trying to make a three-peat in terms of making it to the CWS, it's never too early to start.
Dave Van Horn, Shane Komine, Will Bolt, Jed Morris, Brandon Eymann, Justin Seely, J.D. Scholten, Jeff Blaesing..........gone.
Much of last year was spent waxing nostalgic over the talent from the year prior. Just a year ago, the team that made it to the CWS for the second year in a row was said to not have a chance. That their talent-base was too small. Well, it would appear that the experts don't know everything.
This year, it's the same story and NU has to replace some of their marquee names, but this time, they have to replace the coach that helped to build what NU is today. After Van Horn decided on taking the head coaching position at Arkansas, some thought that even with Coaches Anderson and Childress staying, it was too much to overcome. Catcher, John Grose disagrees. Sound Byte
Wednesday was among the first days that the NU team would be able to prove Grose right.
Honestly, it couldn't get any better than it was on this day. Only a slight breeze, slightly overcast skies, sporadically letting the sun through to warm our faces and the field. If you closed your eyes and listened to the players, you could of sworn it was the middle of May. The weather certainly agreed with Mr. Grose. Sound Byte
This year, Grose finds himself in a familiar yet foreign position. John split time with Jed Morris last year as one was either the starter catcher or the team's designated hitter. This year, that's probably going to change. Sound Byte
As Grose stated, there will be a lot of competition for spots. Not even he will be immune to having to fight for his job. That kind of competition though is what fuels the fire in the bellies of all those trying for their time, each trying simply to be at their best. Sound Byte
Obviously though, John has a leg up on his would-be competitors. Grose had a stellar year last season, especially as the season progressed. Grose finished the season, hitting .384, slugging .592 and knocking in 38 RBIs. In fact, only Jed Morris led Grose in ratio of RBIs to at-bats. As good as he was last year however, John expects to be at even a higher level this season. You see, there's a major difference in the Grose you see before this season has begun to the Grose from last year. John explained. Sound Byte
The summer leagues were quite kind to most of the Husker players that participated, many players competing for their respective league honors.
With all that being said, what does the NU team think of this year?
Granted, the incumbents are talented and they are most definitely experienced. Add to that a stellar talent-base coming in from the JUCO ranks and high school, you would think that these players have every reason to be optimistic. But, how optimistic can you be? You have still lost a coach, your best pitcher, one of your best base runners, some other solid producers on the mound and some opportunistic hitters. What kind of goals can they have? Sound Byte