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Countdown To Opening Day

Feb. 20, 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 a freshman – Derek Dietrich, who is listed as a switch-hitting shortstop/pitcher.

Two more days until the season opener! From a freshman’s perspective, it is difficult to contain our excitement.

As GT student-athletes, we have settled into various schedules and routines, which has been both challenging and rewarding. Without a doubt, the most exciting routine has been putting on a Tech uniform and stepping on to the grass (not covered by snow like it is in Cleveland) at Russ Chandler Stadium.

It is truly a privilege to share the field with so many talented and dedicated teammates. Everyone offers his own unique contribution to the team. There are strong leaders and some who quietly mentor. We have learned from our coaches, experienced upperclassmen and each other, but now we are anxious to take it to the next level!

A combination of proven veteran pitchers and eager rookies will carry us into ballgames providing the opportunity to record many wins. They will be supported by an offense with the ability to drive in runs from every spot in the lineup. Although we have many strong defensive players capable of making spectacular plays, we will concentrate on doing all of the little things. Overall, making the routine plays, locating pitches, running the bases well, working the count, and taking good swings will enable us to rise to the highest level of competition.

Along with an impressive combination of skills, this team has a very competitive nature. It inspires everyone to elevate our level of play. We have bonded through various training and volunteer activities. Some of the highlights were eating at The GT Baseball Benefit (and hearing Chipper Jones speak) and dancing at The Special Olympics Opening Ceremonies. The camaraderie we have already established will certainly be a valuable asset on the field.

Everyone has high hopes for 2008. Our coaches, who share our love of the game — Hall, Kinkelaar, Prince, White, Tamborra, and Mr. Smith (Walt) — have prepared and motivated us. As a team, we have worked hard on and off the field for a successful season, with the ultimate goal of making it to Omaha and winning a national championship. As freshmen, we are honored to become part of the GT Baseball tradition.

In about 48 hours we will take our first steps on the road to Omaha. It will be great to see Russ Chandler full of GT fans. Thank you in advance for your support. We anxiously await the umpire’s call; “PLAY BALL!” …GO JACKETS!!

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