May 30, 2012
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - The players, coaches and staff comprising the Army baseball travel party gathered at Johnson Stadium a little before 7 a.m. today to begin the trek south to Virginia.
Executive Athletic Director Bob Beretta and I, Christian Anderson, are among the travel group, which also includes Assistant Athletic Director Rich DeMarco, head coach Joe Sottolano, associate head coach Matt Reid, assistant coaches Anthony DeCicco and Lt. Col. Dave Borowicz, Head Officer Representative Col. Raymond Nelson, Command Sergeant Major Todd Burnett, athletic trainer Drew Lotocki, strength and conditioning coach Justin Thiel and the Army players.
The recently-graduated seniors were all decked out in their brand-new second lieutenant uniforms, while the underclassmen wore their traditional white-over-gray uniforms.
The NCAA will pay for teams to fly to their Regional destinations only if the destination is further than 400 miles. And wouldn't you know that the distance between West Point and Charlottesville is approximately 390 miles. Ironically (or not), the Charlottesville Regional was the only one of the 16 regional sites that required the Black Knights to take a bus.
Upon leaving the gates of West Point this morning, our bus driver got himself turned around a couple of different times, prompting Army senior co-captain J.T. Watkins to whimsically ask whether or not we were adding the necessary 10 miles to the itinerary before heading to the airport. After the inauspicious start to the trip, we got on track and made pretty good time cruising along Interstate 95.
After a brief stop for lunch somewhere in Maryland, we arrived at the hotel in Charlottesville around 4 p.m. The players spent most of the nine-hour trip sleeping and watching movies.
Everyone retreated to their guest rooms for about three hours after arriving at the hotel, before reconvening for dinner at 7 p.m. The entire travel party then walked to a nearby restaurant for a team meal. The restaurant was one of those all-you-can-eat buffet style establishments and I believe that everyone left very full! I know I probably ate way more than I should have.
That's about all to report on for today. We're all back at the hotel now, taking it easy before calling it a night. Tomorrow will be a busy day. Army will conduct its practice at Davenport Field Thursday afternoon, and Coach Sottolano will then participate in a press conference immediately following the training session. A pre-tournament meeting with administrators will wrap up the day at UVa, before returning to the hotel.
Later on Thursday, we are putting together a special hour-long show entitled "Regional Roundup" that will be available free of charge through ITT Exelis Knight Vision. The interactive show will be hosted by DeMarco and feature interviews with Coach Sottolano and several players.
That leads into Friday's contest against Virginia. The host Cavaliers will take on Army at 4 p.m. Second-seeded Oklahoma will play No. 3 seed Appalachian State Friday night. The winners of those games will compete Saturday at 6 p.m., with the loser's going at 1 p.m., in an elimination game.
We are going to do our best to bring you all the action from here in Charlottesville, Va. Thanks for checking in; there will be much more to come as the week unfolds. Go Army, Beat Virginia!