May 30, 2013
NCAA Regional Central
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - Army baseball head coach Joe Sottolano addressed the media at Davenport Field following Thursday's practice. The fourth-seeded Black Knights face top-seeded Virginia on Friday in the NCAA Charlottesville Regional.
Head Coach Joe Sottolano
(Ref.: opening statement)
"It's good to be back at Virginia. It was a sort of a pleasant surprise to see our name pop up on the (television) screen in the Charlottesville Regional during Monday's announcement. I thought last year's Regional was extremely well run, and we're pleased to be here. I want also want to congratulate all of the other coaches on being here.
"Out of the four teams here, we're probably the youngest. We're talking about a team that's bringing back just 10 players from last year's Regional club. It's sort of been a David vs. Goliath type of thing all year for us, but it's been a fun, developmental season. We have to be extremely tough and disciplined in what we do in order to compete against these three schools. We look forward to the challenges, and I'd like to thank everyone for having us here."
(Ref.: Chris Rowley's motivation to pitch well versus Virginia on Friday)
"I'd think that Chris (Rowley) is a well-respected athlete and fierce competitor, and he will throw for us tomorrow. We're looking forward to having him back on the mound, whether it's in an NCAA Regional, the first game of the year, middle of the year, conference game or conference championship. It's still another baseball game. I think Chris is looking forward to the opportunity."
(Ref.: keys to success this season)
"Well, it's a very young team when you talk about a club with 24 freshmen and sophomores. We brought a lot of quality pitching back this season with guys like Chris Rowley and Gunnar Carroll, but we certainly went through some ups and downs. We fought through it and became a lot closer of a club for it. Guys pulled together at adverse times and developed a little bit of tenacity and toughness along the way. We have to make sure to get a lot of two-out RBI and compete at the plate. We need to put guys in scoring position and get guys moving in order to make things happen (offensively). That's not always easy to do, but we have to really be tough and disciplined in order to be successful, and that started to come through near the end of the year."
(Ref.: sustaining success within the Army program)
"I think all of the programs represented here this weekend talk about being successful year in and year out. Teams make it to the Regionals every once in a while, but programs sustain. Elon, UNC Wilmington and Virginia have all sustained success, and I like to think that we have developed that reputation over the last several years as well. It's something we talk about during the recruiting process, and something we're going to talk about for years to come. I think it's something you hope to develop within the culture of the club. We don't take it for granted, but we expect to be here, and we expect to compete. We like to say that every day in our program is championship day, whether it's practice or a game. Tomorrow is another day and we need to take it as such."
(Ref.: the development of Dakari Cooke)
"We thought that Dakari (Cooke) was going to be in the thick of things at the start of the season, but he didn't play as well as he had hoped for or we had hoped for. He has picked it up as of late, however, and saw significant time during our championship series. He's a hard-working young man who is very athletic. I think he's still developmental, and he'll be as successful as he wants to be in life, let alone baseball. Dakari is a very bright, charismatic young man, and his better days are certainly ahead of him."