The previously unranked Bobcat baseball team has made a comeback.
The Central Oregon Community College Bobcat baseball team is currently ranked 25th nationally, according to Nick Lockwood, one of the team coaches.
“We came out last year, and shocked some people,” said Coach Lockwood, attributing that comeback in part to an aggressive recruitment program led by key players and COCC students; Dalton Chambers, Tim Drafahl and Jake Reed.
The team finished with only nine players last year, due to poor grades and other contributing factors. This year, the coaching team has put emphasis on academics to reduce this issue, according to Lockwood.
“We have guys missing practice for homework which is very new,” Lockwood said.
Contributing in part to excitement regarding the upcoming season, is a new team dynamic, according to head coach, Matt Greenleaf.
“I like our mix, we have a lot of new guys, guys straight out of high school, we also have seven or eight returning players, so it’s a nice mix of new guys as well as returners,” said Greenleaf.
Dalton Chambers, the team’s shortstop and a national player of the week last year believes the fresh talent will help the team succeed this year.
“I’m super excited, we have a bunch of guys out this year that are actual ballplayers,” Chambers said.
Amongst these ranks of ‘actual ballplayers’ stands talent such as Devon Haney, a first-team all-state outfielder last year, Elias Allen, a talented utility player, and second basemen, Cole Chambers. Combine these rookies with the skill and experience of players like Dalton Chambers, and number one on the mound, Jake Reed, and you have a team that deserves its national ranking.
Just as important as the mix though, is the team interaction and, according to Chambers the players get along great with one another, and while they are still working out how to react to each others plays, there is an absence of cliques. It’s this mix of talent, as well as how they play together that will propel the bobcats to postseason success. Chambers was quick to add that,
“Me aside, everyone else thats going to fit around me is going to help us win this year,” Chambers said.
Tim Cachelin | The Broadside