April 13, 2015
Students rarely come to a university just to participate in non-collegiate club sports. For UCCS, club baseball is an exception as the team has competed at a high level and word has spread.
Baseball club president Cameron Dietz, senior, manages and participates with the team each weekend as well as organizes practices and finalizes game times.
The team uses the Alpine Field for agility training and fielding. Batting cages at Rake Nation serve as the space for hitting while games are played at Spurgeon Field.
This season, Dietz feels his team is in a comfortable position with just a few games remaining. The team is leading and can soon win their conference.
In the District VIII South Conference, the Mountain Lions sit at 8-3 before games on April 11. The conference includes teams from Colorado Mesa, CSU-Pueblo, Colorado College, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology and Fort Lewis.
As a club sport, scholarships and any other type of financial aid are not allowed. Dietz acknowledged the challenge of recruiting players.
“We have a lot of new players compared to last year,” said Dietz. “Half of the team is the same from last year to this year.”
When asked how the team assembles quickly each year, Dietz feels the reputation of the program helps.
“A lot of it is word-of-mouth,” said Dietz. “There’s a lot of clubs that are for fun but we are not just for fun, it’s just too competitive. A lot of guys will be walking around campus, wearing our hats, and somebody who has played high school baseball will come up to us.”
Freshman Cody Armel fell into club baseball by chatting with a friend at the Rec Center.
“I saw one of the guys that used to be on the team in the weight room one day and noticed that he had baseball gear on,” he said. “I used to play baseball in high school so I talked with him and he gave me [Dietz’] contact information.”
Armel is among a few players that are standing out.
“We have one guy Keaton Reiher, he’s won conference player of the week two weeks in a row now,” said Dietz. “We also have a pitcher Devin Chavez and he’s won conference pitcher of the week two times this year as well.”
With Reiher a first year player and Chavez a fourth year player, Dietz thinks the team’s dynamics are meshing on and off the field.
“The chemistry is good because we do a lot of stuff outside of baseball to try and get guys to gel,” said Dietz. “We practice six or seven times a week and we play every weekend. When we don’t have that, at my house, off-campus, we get a bunch of guys there before and after practice.”
Armel thinks that because of the success the team is having, the addition of a Division II baseball team to UCCS may be in the near future.
“It’s nice being a part of something big,” said Armel. “It’s club baseball and the way I look at it, is that if we make a name for the club, they might put us into the school as a full sport.”