The App State club baseball team will travel to Greenville, South Carolina this weekend to participate in the 2014 National Club Baseball Association Greenville Invitational tournament.
Other notable teams participating this year include Virginia Tech, Coastal Carolina, East Carolina and NC State.
“This year I think we definitely have a chance to advance past pool play,” team president junior Patrick Sekel said. “With club sports it’s pretty hard to tell who stays and who goes, but I think this year [we have] one of the best teams we’ve had in a while.”
App State will play UNC Wilmington, Virginia Tech and Kennesaw State in pool play at the tournament, with hopes to advance to play Sunday as one of the top four teams in the tournament.
Sekel said a strong tournament result would depend on a group effort, rather than one player specifically.
“Obviously, it doesn’t come down to one player but the biggest players would definitely have to be Ryan McQuirt, one of our ace pitchers, and Jon Smith, our best hitter,” Sekel said. “If Ryan pitches and Jon hits, we’re going to be in great shape, but like I said before, it doesn’t come down to one player – it comes down to one team.”
Because it is a club team, Sekel and his players are largely responsible for organizing games and tournaments themselves such as the Greenville Invitational. Sekel said a lot organization is required to pull this event off.
“We have to plan hotel rooms, finance gas and rides for car pool, figure out lineups and pitching matchups as best we can,” Sekel said.
Sekel, in his first year as president of the team, has been faced with an unusually high turnout rate concerning player participation.
Roughly 30 students have consistently attended practices, a number that is much higher than past years.
“We had to cut down our roster several players for the [Greenville] tournament, which was difficult because everyone on our team has been working very hard,” Sekel said.
Club baseball has played three series so far this fall, splitting a two-game matchup with Surry Community College, winning one of three games against UNC Charlotte and losing both games against Catawba Valley Community College.
The team will travel to Greenville on Friday for its first matchup of the tournament at 7 p.m. against UNC Wilmington. This is App State’s third consecutive year participating in this tournament, but a championship would be the team’s first at this event.
Story: Brooks Maynard, Intern Sports Reporter