McClane Baseball Stadium may be covered in snow and so might the rest of campus.
But that isn't stopping MSU baseball, who opened up practice last week as it prepares for its season. The Spartans are ready to get back at it following the cancellation of their remaining 2020 schedule last spring and an almost year-long off-season.
“Obviously, it was a shock when it happened a year ago and guys had to deal with a lot of adversity, you know going back to last March for sure,” Head Coach Jake Boss Jr. told The State News.
Boss and his team ended their season 9-6 overall, albeit prematurely due to the pandemic.
The Spartans finally had their first day of practice on Jan. 29 – the first time the whole team has practiced together since March.
Even without the schedule being released yet, Big Ten baseball and softball will stick to a conference-only schedule this Spring.
Following the cancellation of the remainder of their season, five out of the eight players eligible to depart decided to stick around for their fifth year as members of the program.
But they aren't the only ones excited to get back to it.
Recently, the Spartans added four new faces to their roster, all Michigan natives. The team added Jacob Anderson, an infielder from Pontiac, Aidan Arbaugh, a pitcher from Saline, Micah Ottenbreit, a pitcher out of Trenton and Ryan Szczepaniak, a pitcher from Woodhaven.
The team also named their team captains for the 2021 season, with each of them being from a different position group. Boss Jr. commented on the different leadership styles they all bring to the table.
The team captains include Sam Benschoter, a senior pitcher from Tecumseh, Michigan and Bryce Kelley, an outfielder who was one of only two Spartans to play and start in all 15 games.
The other two team captains include Bailey Peterson, the other Spartan to play and start all games and catcher Adam Proctor also will be serving as a team captain.
“I think it’s interesting that we have one player from each position group as our captains, which we’ve never really had before, which I think is pretty exciting,” Boss said. During the offseason, the team focused on player development and had the opportunity to work with the players on an individual basis.
MSU’s 2021 baseball schedule has yet to be released, but the Spartans are ready to start the season, no matter who their opponent is.
“Our guys continue to get better and they continue to work hard and improve. You know, I think we’re gonna surprise some people. We’re gonna sneak up on some people, which is going to be fun.”
The team is unsure about the start date of the season as the schedule has not been released, but it is expected to be released soon, an MSU Athletics spokesperson confirmed to The State News.
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