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Clemson baseball holds first spring practice

“The season starts today,” Head Coach Monte Lee said on Friday afternoon when Clemson baseball held their first spring practice.

That practice was only the beginning of a very busy weekend for the team as they had intrasquad scrimmages on Friday, Saturday and Sunday as well as their banquet Saturday evening. Lee and the players all told the media on Friday that they were excited for the season to get started, with opening day in less than three weeks.

Clemson’s baseball team, like its football team, will also be an underdog this season, with experts predicting them to finish fifth in the Atlantic division. In response, pitcher Clate Schmidt said, “We like being the underdogs, we like people not paying attention to us because if you’re not paying attention…you’re going to

be surprised.”

The players admit that the preseason polls are something they notice, but rather than it serving as a distraction, it is a motivation for the entire team to work hard and outperform everyone’s expectations.

Lee assured that the team is in great shape and readyto go.

“We got our fundamentals out the way…now it’s time to cross the white line and compete,” he said.

Lee also stressed the importance of building team chemistry and providing a relaxing atmosphere that not only allows the players to improve but lets them have fun as well.

The new player facility is helping with that. The facility includes big screen TVs and a ping pong table that Lee says “is getting worn out on a daily basis.” When asked how he has attempted to bond with the team, Lee said, “I just try and be myself.”

The players all reiterated that they felt comfortable playing with Lee and that the transition to a new coach hasn’t been a problem for them.

As far as positions go, Lee said that players would be competing for jobs during these early intrasquad scrimmages, especially in determining a pitching rotation. “Weston Wilson moving from third base to second base is huge,” Lee said, stressing how important the defense was going to be for this team due to the inexperience at the pitching position.

Lee also implied that fans may see a few other position changes from last year saying, “First base is a question mark,” and that several players were competing for that spot including last year’s starter Andrew Cox. The coach also said he “tries to coach to personnel … and get the most out of that player,” which means putting them in positions where he feels they will bemost effective.

There is still a lot left to decide before opening day which is why Lee said, “Every day counts for me as a coach.” The season starts at Doug Kingsmore Stadium on Feb. 19 at 4 p.m. against Maine.

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