UNION — The time is here for local baseball fans to enjoy college games in Union County.
The USC Union Bantams club baseball team will have its season opener — a doubleheader against Furman — at noon today at the Timken Sports Complex.
The team has been practicing together since July, and head coach Paul Wilkes said the players and coaches are excited about playing the first season game.
Wilkes said the team’s hitting is solid, and so is the defense. After watching his players in off-season scrimmages against teams including Coastal Carolina, UNC Charlotte and Elon, Wilkes said the main area he has concentrated on has been pitching.
“We have a very solid defense, but the main thing is to make sure our pitchers are throwing strikes,” Wilkes said. “As long as they can keep pitches down in the zone, throwing strikes and keeping walks to a minimum, we can compete with anybody.”
The USC Union Bantams team is an official member of the National Club Baseball Association (NCBA). A club team is different from a varsity team in that the school does not completely sponsor the team’s expenses and the team is not eligible to play in the NCAA College World Series. The Bantams will have an opportunity, however, to play in the NCBA World Series, and club baseball players are scouted by both professional and varsity baseball teams.
Although USC Union offers some support to the Bantams, the team will still raise funds to make ends meet. As one means of raising money, Bantams t-shirts and hats will be on sale at today’s games, and half of the gate will benefit the team as well. Admission is $5 for adults; $3 for students (college and high school must show IDs) and seniors; and free for ages 8 and under.
The Bantams roster includes the following players and coaches: Spencer Rash, Andrew Nichols, Thomas Miller, Bubba Means, Hunter Watts, Lee Wilburn, Hunter McAfee, Taylor Sims, David Henderson, Dontee Stewart, Nick Owens, Vincent Price, Jaquane Foster, Patrick Toney, Alec Acevedo, Michael Wood, Cory Robertson, Parker Burt, Head Coach Paul Wilkes, Assistant Coach Keith Worthy and Assistant Coach Brian Gore.
Keep up with the Bantams on Facebook at facebook.com/USCUnionBantamsBaseball.
Staff Writer Derik Vanderford can be reached at 864-427-1234, ext. 29, or by email at email@example.com.