By Wade Foley
The Cougars ended a great baseball season at Malone on April 30 and are now looking ahead to the postseason.
The Cougars finished this season with an overall record of 27-16, and an AMC record of 14-6. The Cougars were first in their conference with two games left.
“The season has gone well to date,” coach Keith Veale said. “Our overall record is good, but not eye-popping. If you look closely at our schedule, however, there is nothing soft on it. Our conference has been very competitive, and I believe it will remain so until the last weekend.”
Veale and the Cougars have worked hard this season and it is paying off. One of the things that Veale is most proud of so far this season is the pitching.
“Our front four pitchers have been solid,” Veale said. “They have given us a great chance to compete each time out. Baseball is driven by pitching, and we have been throwing very well.”
One of the senior pitchers who has really stepped up and led the team this year is Steve Miller.
“We have had some real challenges this season, especially during the last week of the season,” Miller said. “We had to play six games in three days, which put a stranglehold on our pitching staff. I know, however, that we have enough depth to get through and make a statement at the end of the year.”
Miller, along with the rest of the team, has been confident in the teams play all season and has expected to not only make the tournament, but to win it as well.
“All season long we expected to make, and win, the AMC tournament,” Miller said. “We knew what it would take after winning it last year, and we were prepared to do the same this year.
“We believe that anything is possible this year, even winning the World Series,” Miller said.
Senior pitchers Caleb Wright and Grant Martin have also stepped up and done a great job assisting Miller this season. Senior catchers Ricardo Rodriguez and Ian Durbin have also played very well. Senior infielders Alan Varney and Michael Hendren, along with outfielders Steve Williams and Kodi Veale, have also played a huge role in the team’s success this season.
“Next year will be interesting without all nine of these seniors,” Miller said.
“There is still a lot of talent returning, however, and several good pitchers and fielders making strides. Nevertheless, it will be very interesting, and I wish I could be around to see them.”
The Cougars don’t have too much time to rest as they prepare for the NAIA National Opening Round, which starts on May 12.