May 30, 2013
Army senior catcher Andrew Johnson will author a blog entitled "Catcher's Corner" throughout the 2013 season. Johnson, a two-year letter winner, is serving as one of the Black Knights' co-captains this spring. Check back weekly to follow along with the inside happenings of the Army baseball team.
The past few weeks have been very busy and rewarding for the team and individuals on the team. We had a few days off after winning the Patriot League Championship Series against Holy Cross to rest our bodies. This was needed after a very violent and intense dog pile at home plate on top of Harold Earls. But our team's hunger and drive was hard to put aside as guys were constantly doing extra work and hitting and throwing as soon as we got back. This has proven to be key to our success of late as our team keeps the drive and love for the game even through a long season.
Gradation week was a very hectic and crazy week for the seniors and the team as a whole. We got back into practices and a lot of family was up for the week. West Point does its best to make the out-processing process as hard as possible, but at the end of it, myself, Chris Rowley and Michael Sands all completed the tasks and walked across the stage to the cheer of our teammates who had come out in the cold and rain to watch us complete the four-year journey that they are very anxiously waiting.
The NCAA Selection Show on Monday was intense. We were included in one of the last Regionals announced and everybody had their different predictions and hopes. One by one players let out groans as LSU, FSU, Vanderbilt and other marquee destinations were announced without Army. As the Regionals continued to be announced, it became more and more of a reality that we were going right back to Charlottesville, Va. And, as we guessed, there was our name right beneath Virginia's. It'll be a rematch that we all are excited for. They got the best of us last year and Chris Rowley is itching to be back on the mound as the "Hoo Zone" in left field does their best to cheer on Virginia. We'll do our best to quiet the "Hoo Zone" and win the Regional. As they say, it's time to shock the world, though it won't be a shock to anyone in our locker room. We go into this wanting and expecting to win. Our opponents hold that same mentality and we must respect that and be prepared for their best.
We left early on Wednesday to bus down to Virginia. I am also recording a flip cam tour of our trip and experience down here in Charlottesville, so look out for that after the Regional is complete. It'll be a more detailed behind-the-scenes look. I had McDonalds on the way into campus for breakfast as well as on our first stop of the trip and then Wendy's as we got closer to Charlottesville. The struggles of road trip food choices are taking a toll. It doesn't help me out for my family vacation to Hawai'i. We continued our excellent diet choices with a team dinner at a buffet where the team about wiped the place clean.
Our second day in Charlottesville was practice day. The entire team made a dash to Chik-fil-A for breakfast at the nearby mall only to be letdown that this one did not serve breakfast. Patrick Mescher and Harold Earls made the walk to a separate Chik-fil-A about a mile away as myself and others cut our losses and enjoyed a spicy chicken instead.
Following lunch, we headed to the field for practice. We had about an hour and half of solid work followed by a nice meal provided for us. This was just a small gesture of the grand hospitality that UVA has showed us in our two postseasons here. We had the same focus at practice as any other day. The awe factor was gone as we had scouted out the stadium last year. The upperclassmen have down great job keeping the young team centered and focused. Every rep we've taken in practice since Day 1 has been a championship rep, and now it's time to carry that over. This is the moment to Be Big Time. We have performed great on big stages, and as I write this blog to the music of Explosions in the Sky, I am ready to take the field.
I'll be writing a blog every day of our experience, so stay tuned.
Be Big Time,