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October 2012 Archives

We meet again, Catamount Baseball fans! It's Monday, so in between mixing chemicals, discovering new forms of clean energy and tackling world hunger, you will be getting your weekly update on how the baseball team is doing.

This past week was a wholesome one.  Routinely, we had Monday off. We woke up for our 7:30 am "swole sesh" - aka workouts - and it was raining. That led to us getting Tuesday off as well. That gave our mammoth muscles time to recover and grow. It is a necessity. That night, took a little time to clean the apartment; it smells of rich mahogany. I have many leather bound books as well. I'm kind of a big deal... people know me.

Anyway, we got back on our grind Wednesday, getting back out on the field. We hit a quick summary of defensive work, and then partook in a brief intra-squad scrimmage. Senior leftie Hunter Brister, transfer John McClure, sophomore Jacob Hoyle, redshirt freshman Bryce Danielson, freshman Jonathan Waszack, and sophomore Danny Schneider all spent time on the mound. The pitch calling was pretty arduous. It was intended to get guys to work on the pitches that need some work and challenge us mentally. They executed some pitches, left some over the plate that got hit, but overall, accepted the challenge and did pretty well.

Thursday morning called for another lift. We got after it as usual - by now, that shouldn't come as a surprise considering we look like we are the cast of the movie "300." It's not easy, but it's sheer dedication. Later in the day, we had practice. It was a simple session as we worked on our pick plays, bunt defense, first and third situations, took batting practice, and hit the showers - figuratively, not literally. That would be bad if we literally hit the showers. It may hurt our hands.

Friday morning, the position players got their third lift of the week in. Us pitchers got loose, ran some 100-yard sprints, and then ran to Reid Gym to get a pool work out in. The pool workouts are difficult. First off, you can't breathe under water, which makes it hard on its own. Secondly, swimming isn't easy and is physically demanding. We all parted ways, hit the classroom, and then met back at the field for an intra-squad.

We had a crisp scrimmage. The hitters hit our (as pitchers) mistakes while on the flipside of that, we got the hitters out on some good pitches. Senior leftie Jonathan Nadale, sophomore Jeremy Null and sophomore William Frazier all toed the rubber against crafty senior left-hander Adam Curtis and freshman Colton Davis. Some of the stand outs at the plate - for me, at least - were redshirt freshman Austin Neary, junior Aaron Attaway, sophomore Bradley Strong and senior Tyler White. They looked very confident in the box and were squaring balls up.

Saturday, we got after it again with another tremendous intra-squad game. We gave A+  effort which ended with coach giving us off Sunday. Quick highlights from hitters and pitchers include right-handers junior Jordan Smith, senior Preston Hatcher, and sophomore Tyler Powell. They all really grabbed the bull by the horns and showed how good they really are. The hitters included again, Neary who is having a great fall, and Hoyle who hit a home run and a back side double off the wall.

That's it for this weeks update. We have fall break coming up so be prepared for a little bit of a delay. It's going to be hard and if you go through withdraws, it's ok; it's normal. Everything will be okay, I promise.

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My name is Amber Steinhardt. I am a senior on the Western Carolina Softball team. I am from West Palm Beach, Florida and I'm studying Business Administration and Law with a minor in Economics.

We ended the season last year with not only a better record, then the year before, but also a better insight of what our team was capable of. Our coaches were proud of us, but definitely set high expectations upon our return after the summer.

In August, we welcomed seven new members to our team, six freshmen and a junior transfer. The Sunday before school started, the Athletic Department held a "Welcome Back Cook-out" which allowed all of the sports teams to get together and enjoy each others company. This was a very neat event because it showed our new staff that at WCU, we are one family.

Beginning classes was bittersweet for some and overwhelming for others. For the seniors, it would be our last fall semester, meaning we were well on our way to a countdown of graduation; How exciting!  On the other hand, juggling classes, workouts, meetings, and practices, the freshmen quickly learned how important their time and organization was.

To help everyone become more comfortable with each other, our coaches set up a team bonding trip, - white water rafting down the Nantahala. We were each categorized in to different groups based on our position on the field. With a two-hour trip in the water, we worked on skills such as, communication and working together to overcome the rapids, which resembled obstacles that we may face during the season. Overall, it was a successful trip and everybody had a great time.

Individuals started on Tuesday September 4th and lasted about two weeks. During this time, the coaches focused on working out our kinks from the summer on an individual basis, as well as, getting to know our new teammates and their strengths and weaknesses. It was a time of us to get back in to the swing of things without the pressure of participating in a full practice.

On September 17, we began our first team practice of the fall. The coaches stressed how important the upcoming two weeks were because our first game was set for the weekend of September 29th. In between those dates, we worked on basic defense and offense drills, and coming together as one on the field. Mid-week, the pitching staff threw to live batters not only to give the hitters some competition, but to see what else they needed to fine tune before we headed to the tournament. Our final day of practice was a "feel good" practice. We gained our confidence and knew in our hearts that we were ready to battle.

The last weekend in September approached quickly, and the Catamount softball team was ready to show everything they had worked on, and to prove that this year would be the true turn-around for the program.

Our overall weekend was an exciting one to say the least. We opened up the tournament with an 8-0 win against Southern Wesleyan and ended the day with a 6-2 win against Presbyterian. On Sunday, we returned again with more passion then the first day. Winning both games on Sunday, we left the tournament with happy fans, players, and coaches and gave Catamount Nation just a little taste of what to expect for our upcoming season.

Everyone played with heart and fought until the very end. I think we can all agree that we started off our fall season right by going undefeated. Unfortunately, I was a bystander this weekend due to an injury, but I mean when I say there was never a dull moment during any of the games. I couldn't be more proud and I really can't wait to get back on the field with them and put in the hard work and effort they have been giving on a daily basis.

We return to our home field on October 4th, for our fall home opener against Mars Hill at 6 and 8pm. Please come out and show your support by bleeding your purple and gold.

 Until next time, GO CATS! 

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Why hello there, loyal Catamount Baseball followers and/or lovers. Sorry for the blog entry being a day later than normal, but in order for me to keep up my image as the perfect model for a student-athlete, I have to do my work.

It's not easy being such a virtuous student, constantly striving for perfection, while doing the exact same thing on the bump. Someone has to do it. Let's get to the heart of the matter and talk about this past week for the Catamounts.

As normal, we had Monday off. Tuesday and Wednesday, we got out on the field and had a noble, crisp practice. We are still in the process of teaching our system into the new players so we insure that every day. Once we have accomplished that, we then split into pitchers and position players.

Our position players get nice and limber for the robust activities that they are about to endure. The position players' work on their defense extremely hard because defense wins championships - and that's what the Cats are all about. Also, they have to perfect their swing because three-run jilly-jacksons (also known as homeruns) win games.

We pitchers break off as a unit and do our band work to protect the rocket like arms that we possess, get loose and start perfecting our craft of slicing and dicing the opposing hitters. Our guys get out there and long toss, throw flat ground bullpens, short boxes and scripted bullpens.

A short box is a bullpen that is off the mound, but the catcher isn't 60-feet, 6-inches away. A scripted pen is a bullpen that has every pitch we have to throw and when to throw it. Coach Moranda composes these and they are designed to be very challenging so that when the season rolls around, we can dominate.

Thursday, we improved our knowledge of our system briefly as we went over our pick plays, rundowns, and first and third situations. Then we had an abbreviated game.

John McClure, Hunter Brister, Adam Curtis and Jonathan Nadale toed the rubber for the pitchers. Intra-squad games are always bittersweet. If the hitters do well, that means the pitchers didn't do so hot and vice versa. McClure - or Peter LaFluer from Average Joes Gymnasium as we like to call him - looked good but was a little erratic and had some walks. No one hit him hard and he managed to battle through it without a lot of damage done. Seniors Adam Curtis and Hunter Brister both looked good with their pinpoint control.

Jonathan Nadale had to battle in the first. His stuff looked good, but he was up in the zone. Junior infielder Aaron Attaway hit an elevated change up down the right field line while a few other guys sprinkled some singles in here and there off the other guys as well. The second inning, Nadale came out and was very distinct. He was putting his fastball where he wanted and forcing guys to swing the bat. The one pitch that stuck out was a slider that he dropped his arm angle a little and it was filthy getting a swing and miss to end his outing.

Friday was a very short, hour and fifteen minute practice. We split up right off the bat and went over our individual defense work. We came back together, did our system as a team, then "27 outs" to end the practice. Twenty-seven outs are how many outs a team has to get to win a baseball game. Considering the fact that defense wins championships, we take this to heart. Sure enough, we dominated it and got 27 outs with ZERO errors. Our fielders are such studs.  

It was time to play ball on Saturday and Sunday.

We took our pregame infield outfield first thing on Saturday and then we started the game. We were split into two teams. Team Alpha Johnson was my team, naturally, hand-picked by our assistant coach, Bruce Johnson. Team Johnson was also hand- picked by our volunteer assistant coach - and former WCU pitcher - Brandon Johnson.

The two teams were picked via draft style. They went back and forth picking players. The hitters tore it up on Saturday. Redshirt freshman Austin Neary looked really upright, as he has all fall, scorching balls all over the field. Attaway followed suit by hitting a homerun. Bryant Noteboom squared the ball up a few times, as well as Bradley Strong.

On the mound, Jacob Hoyle, Danny Schneider, William Frazier, Dillion Bray, Colton Davis and Bryce Danielson all threw. Danielson and Davis looked the sharpest in my opinion. They were throwing a bushel of low strikes and getting the hitters to swing the bat furthermore getting outs. Team Alpha Johnson pulled out the victory.

Sunday was a different story. The pitchers did a really good job of limiting the hitters to mostly singles and a few doubles hear and there. Attaway again hit a homerun - the stud. Noteboom hit a double off the left center wall that was absolutely hammered and Neary continued to swing a hot bat. Jeremy Null, Jordan Smith, Waszack, Schneider, Alex Barr, Danielson and Preston Hatcher took the mound. Overall, everyone preformed exceedingly well. It was tremendous seeing both the position players and the pitchers have good days.

We are continuing to work hard and strive for excellence to bring home a ring to Fortress Cullowhee. The Left Field Lunatics would be so proud of us. That's it for now. Check in next week to catch up on what the Catamount Baseball team is getting into.

P.S. - Shout out to Ryan Kontra, a Mechanicsville native as well, for his inspiration and motivation. 

Jordan Timmermann, Catamount Volleyball Blog No. 4

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It's a great day to be a Catamount! We have been busy for quite a while now, hence my lack of blogging. We have had our ups and our downs over the past couple of weeks and I'll be catching you up to speed.

We went to the NC State tournament and went 1-2, getting our win against Campbell in 5 games. It was a good game and helped us keep our heads high at the end of the tournament. The next weekend we were on the road again to participate in the Winthrop Classic in South Carolina. This tournament wasn't one of our best. We had some of our major struggles during our games this weekend. We had to learn how to up our mental game, which was starting to become our downfall. We came so close to getting wins in all our matches, but the outcome wasn't in our favor. We knew that the next game we would play would be crucial to our outlook on the future.

The match against Gardner Webb was the game that turned it around for us. We came out ready to play and took control! We came out on top and won our match in 3 sets. It was a great feeling to come out and have an amazing game! Next, we would start conference play with matches against Samford and Chattanooga. Again, more traveling and long bus rides.

I was beginning to forget where exactly we were at. Actually, that is most of the time since this Missouri girl couldn't tell you a lot of things about the cities on the east coast. Samford, who is one of the top teams in our conference, was our first opponent of the weekend. We had some struggles against this strong team and ended up losing the match in 3 sets. However, we would have to be ready to play Chattanooga the next day. We had a complete turn around and came out strong against the Mocs. We won the match 3-1 and it was the best I have seen us play. Everything was going our way and we were playing with control.

Finally catching you up to speed with this past weekend, we played against Elon and UNCG at home. Elon came out strong and we struggled to finish out games. The sets were close, but we couldn't follow through on winning the sets. Again, we would have to forget the loss and go on to UNCG the next day. We must have had a fire lit under our butts because we came out ready to take it to the Spartans. Having it be a close game the entire match, we came out on top and took the match in three sets.

We may be going on a roller coaster ride, but I think we are on our way to figuring things out. I couldn't ask for a better team because I would do anything for these girls! We have a week of practice ahead of us, and then Thursday we take on our rivals, Appalachian State. On Saturday we have a match against Davidson, so come out and support the volleyball team! GO CATS!

"Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can't Lose"