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Countdown to First Pitch: 13 days

Feb. 8, 2009

ATLANTA – The Georgia Tech baseball team begins the 2009 season Friday, Feb. 20 when it opens a three-game series with Lipscomb. Every day, leading up to the first pitch, a different member of the 2009 squad will check in with their thoughts on the upcoming season. Today’s blog is by freshman pitcher Mark Pope.

Today’s practice began a little bit earlier so that we could prepare for the annual baseball benefit banquet. The day started off with a bang when Jeff Rowland began intrasquad with a missile that landed in the “forest” behind right field. This set the tone for the day as the hitters showed off what they had been working on. Matt Skole and Jarrett Didrick each had a bomb of their own and Jay Dantzler, Derek Dietrich, and Jordan Carter all had impressive performances at the plate as well. Zach Von Tersch and Kevin Jacob both had quality starts while Zach Brewster and myself came in for relief during our first Saturday practice of the spring.

But the day was really all about the banquet, which is the Tech community’s first chance to be introduced to the team, and our first chance to mix and mingle with parents, former baseball alumni, and most importantly, our fans. We all arrived between 6 and 7 and had the chance to meet with several people before dinner was served at 7:30. After Wes Durham welcomed everyone, Luke Murton kicked things off with the invocation before we dove into dinner, which was a delectable chicken dish (with cheesecake for dessert). Following dinner, the coaches, staff and players were introduced to those in attendance, followed by a humorous and entertaining speech from Jeff Francoeur about things that have happened during his profesional career. Throughout the night, auctions and raffles were being held with Nick Scherer (aka “The Flea”) making a valiant attempt at being an auctioneer. Prizes ranged from an Arnold Palmer autographed Masters flag (won by Elliott Ogawa) to gifts donated by Jeff Francoeur, the hometown hero himself. The banquet concluded with our head coach, Danny Hall, making a heartfelt speech about the past and future before finishing off the night by saying, “To Hell With Georgia.”

Click here for a photo gallery from tonight’s banquet

Overall, I think it was a fun and entertaining evening, not only for players and coaches, but parents and alumni as well. We wouldn’t be where we are today without our parents and the people that came before us, and I couldn’t have asked for a better night.

Thanks for checking in, Tech fans, and we hope you are looking forward to the 2009 season as much as we are!

Past Blogs/Q&A’s:
Countdown to First Pitch: 14 days – Q&A by Jeff Rowland
Countdown to First Pitch: 15 days – blog by Matt Simonds
Countdown to First Pitch: 16 days – blog by Jay Dantzler
Countdown to First Pitch: 17 days – blog by Chris House
Countdown to First Pitch: 18 days – Q&A by Jason Haniger
Countdown to First Pitch: 19 days – blog by Derek Dietrich

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