Mountain Lion baseball has chance to be great in first season

Mar. 28, 2016

Taylor Garcia
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A sunny day, no clouds, a cold beer, some cracker jacks and your favorite baseball team is up to bat. That’s a perfect summer day in the making.

Thankfully for UCCS students, that’s about to become a reality next year, as UCCS will add baseball for spring 2017.

The tough thing about any first-year team is success; even established programs struggle with success. The Mountain Lions won’t be entering an easy league.

The RMAC is made up of teams such as Colorado Mesa (undefeated in conference play and 18-3 overall as of March 16), CSU-Pueblo
(13-6) and Colorado Mines (13-7). Last year Mesa ranked number one and CSU-Pueblo number three in the region.

For 2016, the conference is split into two divisions, the Mountain and Plains, each made up of four teams.

No matter which of the two divisions UCCS is placed in, the Mountain Lions are going to have to face Mesa, CSU-Pueblo and Mines at least once in that first year. That could potentially be nine losses for the Mountain Lions, with three games against each team.

But that isn’t going to be the case.

Breaking .500 on the season isn’t going to be an issue. Looking at the RMAC, there are plenty of wins for the Mountain Lions to take such as Metro State, Colorado Christian, New Mexico Highlands and Regis, all teams that are under .300 this season.

Sweeping these teams isn’t going to happen only by recruiting great high school prospects, but adding members who have already played college baseball at other schools or junior colleges.

Additionally, a successful club baseball team gives head coach Dave Hajek a place to start his recruiting.

A veteran or two will help Hajek to build this first team and help the freshmen in their transition. Baseball is a very mental sport and the veteran players will help the younger ones cope with the stress of the game.

Also, it’s safe to say Hajek knows what he is doing.

Hajek was a member of the Rockies organization for 12 years and a player in the Major Leagues for 12 seasons. Along with being familiar with the Colorado Springs area since becoming a part of the Rockies organization, Hajek knows the right coaches in the area to help develop his team.

But even if the first season isn’t successful, it will allow the program to see where and what they need to improve on for the next year.

I am not saying that the team is going to go undefeated in their first year, win the RMAC championship, place first in the region and go far into the NCAA tournament.

But it could happen.