Jan. 24, 2014
Cullowhee, N.C. - Greeted with the second Arctic blast of the winter which left the high temperatures "warning track shy" of the freezing mark despite crystal blue skies, the defending regular season champion Western Carolina Catamount baseball team opened preparations for the 2014 season on Friday afternoon at Childress Field / Hennon Stadium.
Just days after reveling in the success of the Catamount baseball program both past and present with the fourth "Celebration of Catamount Baseball Banquet," all eyes were focused forward as the team braved the elements for the first practice session that lasted just under two hours.
Friday was the first available day for collegiate baseball teams to hit the diamond for the 2014 season as mandated by the NCAA.
"Even though it was just 19 degrees during our practice session, it was actually quite pleasant," said WCU head coach Bobby Moranda referring to the picture-perfect sunny conditions despite the frigid temperatures. "We got in a lot of great defensive work on our first day collectively as a team and took batting practice on the field."
Preparations with individual and group skill instructions began back on Jan. 14 ahead of Friday's opening day of team practice. Moranda and the Catamounts plan to hold their first intrasquad scrimmage at 1:00 pm on Saturday before scrimmaging again on Sunday at around 2:00 pm to wrap-up the first weekend of team practice.
"The guys came out in great shape as we opened practice. Our field is in excellent shape for January. We're right on pace and the Cats will be ready," Moranda added.
Season tickets for the 2014 campaign are on sale now through WCU Athletics Ticket Office. Pricing begins at just $50 for an adult general admission and $25 for a youth for all 30 home dates. Reserved seating options in both field and upper level are available. Call the ticket office at (800)34-GOWCU or (828) 227-2401, or purchase online at CatamountSports.com.
Moranda will release the 2014 team captains the first of next week. Also in the coming days, the Southern Conference will officially unveil the 2014 preseason polls and all-conference selections.
The 2014 Opening Day is scheduled for Friday, Feb. 14 as the Catamounts host Ohio for a three-game, nonconference set at Childress Field / Hennon Stadium.