Redbird Baseball & Softball Ready to Begin Season
Written by admin on February 6, 2019
NORMAL – The -30 degree wind chill in Bloomington-Normal on Thursday was about as far away from “baseball weather” as one could imagine. ISU and surrounding schools cancelled classes last week due to the freezing cold. Despite this, Redbird Baseball and Softball went through with their preseason press conferences at Redbird Arena. Both teams begin their respective regular seasons in the coming weeks.
At the conclusion of last season, the Baseball Redbirds fired Head Coach Bo Durkac after a disappointing 82-134 record during his four-year tenure. New Head Coach Steve Holm says that he is ready to take on the challenge of pushing the team in a new direction.
“Most of the guys were very receptive to changing some things,” said Holm. “In a lot of ways it’s easier to come in when a team has struggled than to follow a legend.”
Coming off of a season in which he hit .347 and led the team in home runs with 8, Junior outfielder John Rave was selected to the preseason All-MVC team. He believes this has been a great offseason for the team.
“We’ve all been working really hard on getting bigger, faster and stronger,” said Rave. “We really feel like we can compete in the Valley.”
Softball Head Coach Melinda Fischer is on the opposite end of the spectrum from coach Holm, entering her 34th season at the helm. The experienced coach has high praise for her team ahead of their first set of games.
“I can feel that they are energetic, they’re ready to learn and they’ve paid attention,” said Fischer. “We’ve moved further and faster than we have with any other team starting in the fall to where we are right now.”
Early on in their season, they will be playing a pair of tournaments in Florida and one in Arizona that will feature five games against ranked opponents. Senior Pitcher Ali Domkuski is excited to see how they will fare against the best of the best.
“You grow up your whole life wanting to play against the best teams in the country, so why not do it?” said Domkuski. “It’s a good experience and I think it makes us better each time we play them.”
Both teams will head south to start their year: Redbird Softball will travel to Tampa to play South Florida on the 7th, and Redbird Baseball will begin their season in Nashville against Belmont on the 15th.