The Murray State club baseball team hopes to get into the swing of things in its second season as it opens against Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville on Saturday.
Sophomore Trevor Engelke from Worden, Ill. is the club president and said he looks forward to beginning the team’s second-ever season this week.
“Last year was the first season we became recognized as a club,” Engelke said. “We got people together, and we were able to play four games. They were two doubleheaders, and we ended the season 2-2.”
Engelke said he hopes to see improvement and growth from the team’s inaugural season and believes a mixture of returning and new players will boost the team.
“Right now our roster is at 15,” Engelke said. “We are still looking to grow and take on anyone who is interested in playing. We’ve lost a few players just to school, or switching schools, and a couple graduated but we’ve also gained a few freshmen and other players that were interested this year.”
Engelke said he thinks it’s important for schools to have a club baseball team.
“I think baseball is still a big sport in a lot of places, especially around southern Illinois where I am from,” Engelke said. “I figured this place has a lot of clubs already so a baseball club wouldn’t hurt.”
With an extensive background in baseball, Engelke brings experience and skill to the field. Beginning in tee ball at age 5, Engelke has played the majority of his life.
“I enjoy the game and like how laid–back it is,” Engelke said. “I’ve just grown up with it.”
Engelke said he believes teamwork is the most important quality a baseball team can have.
In preparation for the upcoming season the club team has begun practicing a few times a week.
“We practice over at the softball intramural fields, Engelke said. “They have cages over there so we can hit in those. Some of us also play during the summer so that definitely helps with conditioning. We usually try to have 3 practices a week until games start.”
Although scheduling practices and games can be difficult, the relatively new club faces several obstacles.
“Our main challenge right now is fundraising,” Engelke said. “The next step is to join the National Club Baseball League. That’s the league all of the teams are in and they help out with a lot of scheduling and all that stuff.”
Club baseball consists of two different seasons. The fall season tends to be less competitive and shorter than the spring season Engelke said.
As the fall season kicks off the club baseball team will travel around the region to play schools such as SEMO, SIUE and SIUC.
“I know there are some other teams in the region; Vanderbilt and University of Kentucky have teams,” Engelke said. “We haven’t traveled that far.”
Although they aren’t in a league yet Engelke said he hopes to be incorporated into the league in the near future.
“We aren’t in a league right now, but that’s what we are working towards,” Engelke said, “we are just pretty much independent. We schedule all of our own games. We have to do pretty much everything on our own right now.”
Engelke said one of the major differences between high school and college club baseball ball is the lack of coaches.
“It is all player run; a lot of the teams in the national club league don’t have coaches either,” Engelke said. “I don’t really know why exactly, I guess it’s a little different than high school; everyone plays who’s on the team. Everything is player run.”
The team held open tryouts and is prepared to begin their season Saturday.