Roanoke College baseball building on last year's success
The 2017 ODAC and South Regional champions are back in the hunt
SALEM, Va. – The end of Roanoke College's 2017 campaign resulted in the most successful season in program history. Despite being the bottom seed for both, the Maroons won the ODAC and South Regional tournaments and advanced to the NCAA Division III World Series, all the way to the semifinals.
"I think we use it as confidence. You had such a good year, you have a lot of returning guys. I think the expectation was come back and work as hard as we did last year," said Maroons head coach Matt McGuire.
"Honestly it was unreal and now we're just kind of riding that wave that we were on last year. Everyone else kind of thought that it was luck of the draw, playing hot, but we're trying to prove everybody wrong," said Maroons infielder, and Staunton River product Cody Shell.
After last year's run, Roanoke finished third in the nation in the D3 poll. This season, the hunters are now the hunted.
"Strive for more. Strive for more than just third place. We don't want to be a third-place team. I believe we want to win it all this year, so that mentality coming into the season motivated all of us. Especially over the off-season all of us worked really hard and you can really tell that we've progressed this off-season," said outfielder Sean Guida.
At 22-7, including a 15-game win streak midseason, the Maroons are warming up for another post-season push. McGuire credits defense but they're also getting some help at the plate, with five players batting over .300, including Guida, who's batting .421.
"He's been a stud for us for four years, but nobody sees the work he puts in, especially in the weight room. I think he's one of the best players in the country, he can do a little bit of everything. He can hit the ball out of the yard. He can hit a double and triple, he can bunt for a hit.
Roanoke's road to the World Series was a memorable one, and with two weeks remaining in the regular season, they hope to be embarking on another wild ride.
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