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September 4, 2013 / umbcdawgblog

Round Four

By: Rob McCabe

The UMBC baseball team is setting their hopes high as they look to return to the America East Conference tournament for the first time since 2008.  The start of the fall season is right around the corner but not without a little conditioning testing first.  My name is Rob McCabe and I am an outfielder for UMBC’s baseball team and one of five seniors on the 2014 roster.  I am a Philadelphia, Pa. native and I am a media and communications studies major while earning a minor in American studies, and I am currently interning this fall with UMBC’s Athletic Communications department.  My teammate, Shane Vlasic, and I are two of the interns that are working with UMBC Athletics, covering the various fall and winter sports that compete for the Black and Gold.  Shane and I will be working with the men’s and women’s soccer teams as well as the men’s and women’s cross country teams.  Of course, once the basketball season begins, we will also be covering those games also.McCabeExtend2013Alb

Things are looking up for UMBC baseball.  Although we finished 18-30 last year, we defeated Binghamton for the first time since 2008 and we defeated all of our conference rivals at least once.  We are returning all of our players except for two and have five freshmen joining our team.  We left campus on a high note as we defeated Maine with a walk-off 2-RBI single by Anthony Gatto and we never looked back.  All of our players came to campus this fall knowing that we have something to prove.  The first day of conditioning testing proved to our teammates and our coaching staff that we are committed to re-establishing the winning tradition here at UMBC.

Different from fall and winter sports, spring sports are a year round schedule.  Our fall baseball season consists of team practice for five weeks along with four games against outside, local competition: Harford Community College, Coppin State, CCBC – Catonsville, and Navy.  We are also lifting three times per week during the fall to maintain our strength that we worked so hard to achieve over the summer.  Currently, we are in our individual phase of the fall where we are working in small groups for two hours per week to introduce new ideas to returning players and incoming players also.  The fall is also a time to team build and there’s no easier way to do that than to condition our bodies as a group.  We do this to make sure that we are strong enough and have enough endurance to focus for three to four hour practice.  After the fall, we have our winter lifting and conditioning program that continues to winter break.  During winter break, we are expected to continue the same program that we left school with to ensure that we come back for the spring season stronger and faster than when we came in during the fall.

Many of our players played baseball in the summer.  I played for the Herndon Braves in the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League along with my UMBC teammates Cam Maxey, Jake Barnes, and Jon Cohn.  We also had five other players play in the league as well.  The schedule consists of six or seven games a week for seven weeks for a total of 43 games during the summer.  Now, if you played every game during the spring and then played in the summer, that’s about 85-90 games which is only half of a major league season!  Summer baseball is certainly a grinding process but it prepares mentally us for the fall season and spring season.

As a senior and a captain for the last two years, it is amazing to see the transformation that our program has gone through and it’s even more amazing to be a part of the change.  We have 32 players with one goal: win an America East title.

Check back here for the next Dawg Blog entry from another UMBC baseball player!


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