Eleven new faces will be on Reagan Field this spring.
The ‘Breds roster features six new pitchers and five new position players. The group joins the 14 returning veterans from last season. Last year the team finished 23-33 overall, and 8-19 in OVC action.
Freshman Dalton West, from Owensborro, Ky., said the maturity and talent he sees in his teammates is the biggest difference after coming from Apollo High School to Murray State.
“The experience in itself is a lot different,” he said. “I expect to have a better season than last year. We have all been working hard in the weight room and getting stronger. Hopefully that will pay off this season.”
Transfer John Rafferty, from Chicago, Ill., said the biggest difference coming to Murray State is it is a big school and the guys on the team are better than what he was used to from playing at a community college.
Head Coach Rob McDonald said not all of the new players will see game time, but it is his job to make sure the ones that do play, are ready physically and mentally. He is confident they will be prepared. It is an adjustment for anybody in any sport coming to Division I athletics, McDonald said.
“It is just about developing their skills and their talents to succeed at the level of competition that we will be playing,” he said. “The main thing is the speed of the game is different and the talent of the players that they will be playing against is different. It is not like they will be out there in the middle of a game looking around, thinking, wow, I’ve never seen this before.”
The pace and amount of work the team does in the weight room is different than what the newcomers are used to. However, McDonald said the work in the weight room with coach Mike Rhodes has been outstanding.
“The guys work very hard and very intensely in there,” he said. “For the new guys it is quite an adjustment and it is an adjustment to our returning guys too. The pace and everything that we are doing in the weight room.”
Lott said he is expecting a good season after having two successful years at his, Marshalltown Community College.
“(I want to) show people what I can do,” he said. “Hopefully I can bring some new aspects and help the team win some games.”
The first game of the season is Feb. 15 in Conway, Ark., against Central Arkansas.
The new freshman are:
Mason Barber a pitcher from Mt. Juliet, Tenn.; Sheldon Baxter a pitcher from LeCanto, Fla.; Andrew Bramley a pitcher from Louisville, Ky.; Matthew Johnson–an infielder from Owensborro, Ky.; Cody Maerz a pitcher from Louisville, Ky.; Seth Washington an infielder from Russellville, Ky.; and Dalton West a catcher from Utica, Ky.
The new transfers are:
Cashtyn DeLeeuw a pitcher from Grimshaw, Alberta, Canada; Greg Guest an infielder from Nashville, Ill.; Ben Loft an outfielder from Ottumwa, Iowa; and John Rafferty a pitcher from Chicago, Ill.
Story by: Jaci Kohn, Assistant Sports Editor