Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Confined to indoors, PSUC gets creative with practice

The Plattsburgh State baseball team seems to be back on track toward a winning season after its performance against Oneonta this past week. However, despite the team performing to the best of their abilities, the frigid cold of the North Country is disturbing the Cardinals’ progress.

Take this week, for example.

PSUC is experiencing temperatures that are barely breaking the 40-degree mark while teams farther south are playing in the comfort of good weather. Although temperatures don’t directly correlate to statistics such as on-base percentage and ERA, the weather does, in fact, take a toll on the teams more north. On a day-to-day basis, the Cards are struggling to make their practices as effective while confined indoors.

“Being inside all of the time makes it tougher to be innovative,” assistant coach Brian Burns said. “Under these types of circumstances as coaches, we’re just trying to keep the kids interested and alert during the indoor workouts.”

The team’s primary concern is the inability to see live ground balls during their practices, in addition to a lack of field experience. When a team is able to get normal practices in on a field, the players are able to create more game-like situations, which is vital to a team’s success.

Senior catcher Frank Buksa, who is currently batting an impressive .382, is still trying to keep the Cards focused on the task at hand. Buksa said maintaining a strong mental attitude as a team will help PSUC ride out the struggles of this harsh winter.

“Collectively, we need to stay in the game mentally and show up to practice every day ready to work,” Buksa said. “We pretty much have practice inside every day, which causes a routine to set in, which makes it harder to stay focused and sometimes that can translate to the game.”

Head coach Kris Doorey, who is in his 14th year as the PSUC head coach, agrees with his senior’s words. Not being able to get on a field keeps the team from being able to get in a groove.

“If you’re playing in cold conditions, it’s not going to allow you to swing the bat as well,” Doorey said. “It’s little parts of the game like that, which can be affected by this brutal weather.”

In a win last week against Oneonta, junior southpaw Scott Orr pitched a stellar game, going all nine innings.

Orr went nine innings giving up eight hits, two walks, striking out 10, while giving up zero runs.

His coaches and teammates credit his mental toughness as a big factor in his performance.

“It’s something that we talk about all the time in practice,” Burns said. “It really shows how far a strong mental game can go, and I think it was really good for the younger guys to see what it takes to be successful.”

So despite the fact that the Cards have not been able to consistently work on some physical aspects of the game, their attention to the mental part of baseball has proved effective. Things such as fundamentals and knowing what to do in big situations are aspects that will lead the Cards to success.

Email Kevin Morley at kevin.morley@cardinalpointsonline.com

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