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Countdown To Opening Day

Feb. 14, 2008

The Georgia Tech baseball team opens the 2008 season Feb. 22 vs. Youngstown State. Every day, leading up to the first pitch, a Yellow Jacket player blogs about the upcoming season. Today’s blog is by senior LHP/OF Charlie Blackmon.

Yesterday was one of those days where I had to remind myself just how much I love baseball. On the way to the locker room I heard one of our guys say that his enthusiasm towards today’s practice on a scale of 1 – 10 was a 1. I did not disagree. When practice began, the wind chill was already in the 20’s, and was dropping. Even Steve Tamborra, our strength coach, was wearing a jacket (even though he was wearing shorts to prove his manliness). I, however, was not trying to fool anyone. I was wearing every jacket I could find.

A light snow flurry accompanied me, in the wind tunnel that is right field, for the first half of Wednesday’s intra-squad game. Even Zach Von Tersch was cold and he is from Iowa. The starting pitchers for the game were Brandon Cumpton and Deck McGuire. Both threw well despite the cold weather. The hitters did a great job battling at the plate. The outfielders improved their defensive play compared to the past few days.

After braving the elements, our team is ready for whatever the season can bring our way. I look forward to joining a capable and talented collection of upperclassmen. This group is full of players who have high personal expectations. Each one of us still feels that we have something to prove, especially after being predicted to finish eighth in the ACC.

From what I have seen this spring and dating back to the fall, our upperclassmen are working harder than ever to improve upon last year’s season. I am going to make an early prediction that many of our more experienced players will have breakout seasons this year. Along with this vital core are a very impressive group of sophomores and freshmen. I have been especially impressed with the attitudes that these guys bring to the field every day. Look at any one of these young players and you will see a confident athlete who knows that he can compete at the ACC level. As a group, they have learned to make adjustments on the fly. Each one is eager for their chance to show what he can do.

The Jackets’ pitching staff will be led by our two giants (Duncan and Burns). These are two of the most competitive men that I have ever had the pleasure of playing with. Coming off great summers are two more guys who each bring God-given athleticism to the mound (Hicks and Von Tersch). Along with one of the best relievers around (Rulon), I am very confident that the Tech pitching staff will shut down opponents.

On the offensive side, we have guys who can hit in different spots and play different positions. I would not be surprised to see Coach Hall try out different combinations from time to time. There is a healthy competition among position players because we have so many guys who are talented.

I think this year’s team has everything we need to turn some heads. Only eight more days until first pitch. GO JACKETS!!!

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