The University of Alabama club baseball team will have a chance to make some history heading into its 2017 season this spring.
Coming off of its second South Atlantic Conference-West Championship title, Alabama will return 20 players to its roster for a chance to build on last year’s success. The club has raised expectations for itself heading for 2017.
“The goal is always to win our conference again,” club president Jeremy Terao said. “But we’ve done that a couple years already, so the goal is to win regionals and go on to the World Series this year.”
Those 20 returning players include two players who made the All-Regional first team in 2015: pitchers Zach Imburgia and Justin Thomas. Imburgia also made the All-American second team in 2014 in his sophomore year and will look to repeat that success this season.
Terao believes the team has All-American talent on its roster this season.
In addition to the 20 returning players, Terao mentioned that 21 more players made the team after open tryouts at the end of August. The club must cut its roster down to 30 before the season begins in February. A series over fall break will help Terao and the club decide which players end up staying on the team.
One of the newest members of the team is freshman Brian Barcellona.
“I was really excited when I found out I made the team,” Barcellona said. “I tried out, I loved the guys and the feel of it and decided I wanted to be a part of this club.”
Junior outfielder Josh Brasher hopes the new additions to the team will bring more power, as the club did not hit a single home run in 2016.
Brasher himself joined the team when both of his roommates convinced him it would be a good idea. He has been on the club since he came to Alabama and relishes the decision to join the club.
“I’ve been on the team for three years and have enjoyed every moment of it,” Brasher said. “I cannot wait to compete this year and I do plan on being back next year as well.”
Sophomore pitcher Cooper Wright chose Alabama particularly because of the chemical engineering program, but also because he wanted to continue playing baseball through the club team Alabama specifically offers.
With the University of Georgia baseball club being moved out of Alabama’s division, Terao said the Crimson Tide is regarded as a heavy favorite to repeat as conference champions. Winning its conference would set the team up for a chance to return to regionals and win a game there this time around.
Alabama will open up its 2017 season on Feb. 18 and 19 against Vanderbilt. With the team playing its home games at Bryant High School, it hopes students come out and support its effort to accomplish the goal of reaching the World Series this season.
“We have a lot of talent; it is a family environment out there,” Wright said. “We’re out there just to have fun, good times, enjoy ourselves.”
Source:: The Crimson White Sports