Banquet kicks off baseball season
Published: Monday, February 11, 2013
Updated: Monday, February 11, 2013 17:02
“You can become good, but what defines becoming great?” Opening the Grand Slam Banquet with these words, head coach Tommy Raffo set the pace for this year’s baseball season.
“We want to go to Omaha. That’s what we’re talking about for the first time in this program… the word Omaha is being used,” Raffo continued. “We’re going to be first class in everything we do. We’re going to pay attention to detail. We’re going to be good to the little guy. We’re going to hustle and play the game right. That’s the ASU way.”
High standards are set this year and they plan to do everything possible to reach them.
“I really look forward to how well we are going to play as a team,” junior pitcher Bradley Wallace said. “We had a retreat that really brought us close as a team and we’re reaching for greatness this season.”
In order to reach the level the Red Wolves are hoping to attain, support is essential. The Grand Slam banquet is an annual way for Arkansas State baseball to raise funds that can facilitate the needs of the team such as clothing and on field necessities. Families, sponsors and community supporters came to mingle with the team Thursday night, while enjoying dinner and silent and live auctions.
“The turn out this year was impressive. The ASU Home Run Club raised over $30,000, which was enough to pay off the baseball complex,” senior diamond doll Stacey Spivey said. “That, in itself, is really great for the team and program.”
The diamond dolls coordinated much of the event, but only as a kick-start for the season. “We act as a support team for the guys. We are bat girls at every home game, hold events with the team and give our ‘diamond’ gifts before each home game.” Spivey said.
Many fans and alumni are looking forward to the upcoming season as the team comes off a strong year in the Sun Belt Conference.
“They return a very strong line-up and a couple key pitchers. I think they’re ready to take the next step, which is winning the Sun Belt Conference and advancing to a NCAA Regional,” alum and Kansas City Royals player Murray Watts said.
The team is set to take on the Bradley University Braves in a three game home series this weekend.