Back from a four-game road trip in Florida that didn’t the best results, the Baton Rouge Community College Baseball team is relieved to return home.
Taking part The St. Petersburg College Invitational, the Bears learned just how tough Florida baseball can be, dropping games a pair of 10-1 games to St. Petersburg College and Miami-Dade College before salvaging a 4-1 win over Calhoun Community College.
The tour was capped off with a 7-6 loss to Southwest Tennessee Community College that saw the BRCC bullpen give up the tying and go-head runs in the ninth inning.
Despite the losing record, BRCC (1-3) coach L.J. Dupuy and his team enjoyed its time in Florida.
“It was beautiful weather and a beautiful facility with a lot of field to play on,” Dupuy said of the stint in Florida. “We had everything that we ever would have wanted, except maybe get a few more wins.
“We didn’t hit as well as I expected us to, so we have some work to do in that area,” he added. “We did get to pitch a lot of guys, and that’s what we wanted to do coming in.”
Now, with a few games under their belts, the Bears’ focus shifts to Saturday’s doubleheader with Bossier Parish Community College.
Game one’s first pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m. at Pete Goldsby Field. The second game will follow 30 minutes after the conclusion of the first.
“They beat us twice last year and have a lot of the same players back, so we are expecting a tough series,” Dupuy said of BPCC. “It’s always competitive between these two teams. I expect our guys to be fired up and ready to go.”
Dupuy said he will start sophomore left-hander Jared Keating (0-1) for the first game and redshirt freshman lefty Kelby Blalock (1-0) in game two.
BRCC will be without both starting catcher Cody Davis and backup Taylor Stagg with both sustaining injuries in Florida. While Stagg is day-to-day with a sore thumb, Davis’ condition is a little more serious after spraining his knee. He will miss at least four weeks.
Regular starting right-fielder Matthew Willis will catch for the Bears.
“It was a nice welcome to the new season, losing both of our catchers,” Dupuy said.
The loss of Davis and Staggs will also be felt offensively, which will put more weight on the shoulders of first baseman Nicholas Ber.
Playing in three of the four games this season, Ber has been BRCC’s most potent weapon at the plate, going 4-for-7 with a home run.
Dupuy said the best is yet to come from the freshman slugger.
“Nicholas Ber has got the potential to be a real big-time power hitter,” he said. “He’s has a consistent bat, and I think he has a good chance to be a pro prospect down the line.”
Even with all the adversity his club has been faced with early on, Dupuy knows his team is talented enough to get back on track, starting Saturday.
“We think we can break the school record in wins in a season at 38,” he said. “Because we have already lost three games though, that means we only have 14 games left to give, so we have to stay focused.”