Point baseball return senior-heavy a season after making regional championship
Published 10:24 pm Wednesday, January 30, 2019
WEST POINT — Friday afternoon marks the start of the last chance for the many senior seniors on the Point University baseball team. That’s the day the Skyhawks travel to Emerson, Georgia to play face off against the University of Pikeville.
“The guys work hard,” Point head baseball coach John Tyler said. “They want it this year. We are senior heavy, so we have a lot of guys that understand that this is their last year. They’re working extremely hard, they’re dedicated. They’re putting in the work, they’re enjoying it, they’re loving it. They’re excited that Friday is the first game. They’re tired of being in the cages, and they’re ready to get on the field. Hard work and dedication, they have the right mentality. With all the guys we have, if all of the cylinders are clicking at the right time, we’re going to be alright.”
Point had everything going right for them at the right time last season. The Skyhawks appeared in the regional championship game against No. 2 Georgia Gwinnett after defeating No. 9 Bryan, No. 19 Tennessee Wesleyan, No. 13 Lyon and No. 15 Keiser throughout the conference and regional tournaments. Point was two wins away from appearing in the NAIA World Series.
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“We had a good team last year, and what we were able to do is tough,” Tyler said. “There are 326 NAIA baseball teams, and at a regional, there are only 45. You have to be hot late in the season. Our expectations are to win every game as a coach, but that’s not realistic. I’d hope that this group can have another winning season, be above .500. I’d be shocked if this team didn’t win another 30 plus games this year. I think we have the team to be able to do that, but in my years of coaching, I know that when we have gotten better, the other teams around us have gotten better as well, so it’s going to be good competition.”
Some of this season’s key returners include senior first baseman Dayton Cook, senior second baseman Alberto Lozada, senior center fielder Anthony Young, senior outfielder Carnegy Calzado and senior shortstop Kyle Kelly. Senior right-hander Nico Mayoral will be on the mound for the Skyhawks on opening day.
Tyler realizes the reality of his program after this spring.
“This recruiting class is going to be crucial,” Tyler said. “We have a lot of players who know it’s their last year, and they’re going to give everything they have. This could be their last season of baseball, so they’re going to leave it all out on the field.”
Point will finish its season-opening series against Pikeville on Saturday for the first game back at Skyhawks Field.