FEATURED TEAM OF THE WEEK

All posts by Eric Curitore

FEATURED TEAM OF THE WEEK

STANFORD UNIVERSITY

NCBA Division 2 | Pacific Region | North Conference

Stanford, CA

Mascot: Cardinal

 

“The resurgence of Stanford Club Baseball was, like star right fielder Will Ogden, fast. In just its second Division 2 season, Stanford finished one win away from reaching nationals. Last season, before the pandemic intervened, Stanford was coasting through the NCBA Pacific north conference with a 7-0 record. That is why Stanford football, coming off a 4-8 2019 season, took a page out of club baseball’s book. Before the 2018-2019 season, the club baseball team moved to playing its games at Woodside High School. Trying to replicate the same success, David Shaw and the football team did the same, practicing at Woodside at the beginning of their fall camp.

As a freshman, local pitching prospect Cameron Vaughan identified Woodside High as a home for the team. Soon after, the club baseball team could be found on the weekends taking care of the field, and it paid off.

“The key move was that we had a home field,” Vaughan said. “And not only did we have a home field, we had a home field where we were comfortable.” It was at that home that Stanford dropped the first two games of its opening series to Sacramento State in 2019. Despite the high expectations coming into the year, it could have been another disappointing season. Instead, sophomore player-manager Gregory Block gave a speech and turned the season around.

“Seeing that early season lethargic performance was frustrating,” Block said. “I felt like if I really tried to fire people up early in the season it would send a message and establish what we were trying to do over the course of the year.”

“I don’t remember the words of the speech, but I remember the way that it made me care about winning,” Vaughan said. “Greg brought so much energy.”

Block and Ogden stepped in as presidents in their sophomore year when Karl Fencl and Austin Poore graduated. Soon after recruiting the freshman class, Block and Ogden could sense a new kind of energy from the group. During offseason workouts, it was apparent that Vaughan, former Little League World Series hero Danny Marzo, and the rest of the freshman class was ready to make a difference. Emboldened by the talent, Block would send weekly emails with inspiration from the team’s past. He first shared the epic story of pitcher Drew Tam laying down a bunt for a hit with a full count and the bases loaded to tie the game. Later, he would talk of “Big Cat” throwing past the point of exhaustion to rest the team’s bullpen. All of that culminated in Block’s epic speech to save the season.

“I remember walking away thinking not only do we need to win Sunday, but we’re going to win out,” Vaughan said. “And we ended up doing that just that.” Stanford won its final nine conference games to clinch a berth to Lancaster. Just a season before, playoffs were less than an afterthought — they were never mentioned — but Stanford found itself in the regionals in the first year of Block and Ogden leading the program.

Nevertheless, it did not come without its close calls. One morning, after heavy rain, Block and Vaughan woke up at 5:30 a.m. to put Turface on the field. The field, while not ideal, was playable, and Stanford won the two games necessary to secure the conference championship and the No. 1 seed.

“It’s a funny story to look back on, but we were out there for four hours in the morning and

basically redid the entire field,” Block said. “To me that was kind of a sign that we were all

serious about this.”

An absurd 26-15 game ended Stanford’s season in 2019 on the doorstep to Kansas. After

pitching guided the Cardinal all year, four games in three days ran through the stable of arms and the hot, dry weather won out. “Pitching wins championships,” Vaughan said. “And most schools in the Division 2 club ball circuit don’t have the depth that perhaps a Tampa Bay Rays or a Dodgers organization might have to pull from.”

In addition to Vaughan, Stanford has leaned heavily on ace Ben Caven. Caven has been named the NCBA Player of the Week in each of his two seasons, throwing a 6-inning complete game, allowing just one run on one hit with seven strikeouts his freshman season and winning the award last season with a performance in which he struck out 13 over 6 shutout innings. “There were teams that knew of Ben before we even knew when we were going to play them,” Vaughan said.

In 2020, with senior leaders Alex Rejto and Chris Adosei-Poku guiding the team, Stanford did not lose a single game. Only a natural disaster could have stopped Stanford — and it did. “Knowing how close we came,” Ogden said, “just one game away from nationals the year before, and then coming back and adding even more talent like Wes [Rojas], like Karsten [Householder], and especially solid play from the freshmen… I thought that not only would we be going to nationals we actually had a shot at it.”

Looking ahead to the 2021 season, Stanford’s biggest strength might be its competitive spirit. Rojas, the shortstop, has been known to sleep in his uniform the night before a game.  “The first thing that shows through is just people’s energy and enthusiasm,” Block said. “There’s just excitement to be back on a baseball field again, because we never know when sports can be taken away from us.”

In 2021, the talented, competitive, and hungry Stanford club baseball team will return to action at Woodside High, but for now are just counting the days. “The field of dreams,” Ogden said. “Every time I drive past Woodside, it almost brings a tear to my eye.”

Team Social Media:

Facebook: @StanfordClubBaseball 

Twitter: @SU_ClubBaseball 

 

FEATURED TEAM OF THE WEEK

 

UNIVERSITY OF OREGON

NCBA D1 | Northern Pacific Region | West Conference

Mascot:  Ducks

Location:  Eugene, Oregon

 

Write-up:  The 2021 Oregon Ducks are hungry to buy their plane tickets back to North Carolina. After winning it all in 2015, things haven’t gone their way in terms of bringing the trophy back to Eugene. But this year is different. This year’s team is full of great young talent that is ready to take over the Northern Pacific – West Division for years to come. With a great recruiting class last year and another great one this year, the Ducks are unrecognizable compared to as early as 2 years ago.

Look for a lineup that possesses a balance in both contact and power, as well as a pitching staff that contains high velocity and deception. The Ducks are going to be an exciting team to watch this year. Two players are ambidextrous

 

Interesting/Fun facts:   Two players are ambidextrous

 

 

Social Media:

Twitter: @UOClubBaseball

Instagram: @uofoclubbaseball

Facebook: University of Oregon Club Baseball

 

 

FEATURED TEAM OF THE WEEK

 

AIR FORCE ACADEMY

NCBA DII | Rocky Mountain Region | South Conference

Colorado Springs, CO

Mascot: Falcons

“We’ve got a pretty young team this year with only 3 seniors and 2 Juniors returning to play for the season.  Our coaches last year put in a lot of work and effort to get the team rolling and we’re working hard to pick up where they left off.  We’re looking forward to getting the season rolling and enjoying some team bonding with long road trips in the team vans and club baseball recognition.

Interesting/Fun Facts: Due to the circumstances that we have been placed under because of  Covid-19 we have had to modify our schedule and one of our returning seniors, Matt Morales, has taken the responsibility of conducting 4 am virtual team lifts and yoga sessions.  While nobody is yet to attend it was an effort that didn’t go unnoticed.”

“We’re expecting big things this year from our center fielder Cole Tofil.  With several leadoff homeruns in our limited season last year he’s expected to pick up where he left off before he gets cut.  Another player to keep an eye on is our golden glove third baseman Luis Quintero.  Luis has put in a lot of work over quarantine and is expected to be a huge contributor and the captain of our infielders.  We also have a former D1 tight end turned club baseball 1st baseman in Davis Koskie.  While he’s still learning how make contact with the ball he truly takes the go big or go home mentality to heart.”

Team Social Media:

Twitter: @AFClubBaseball

 

WEEK 9 PREVIEW

One series on tap this weekend. Details below!

Missouri S&T (DII) (2-0 Overall) @ Louisville

3 Non-Conference Games

Saturday 11/7  – TBD

Sunday 11/8 – TBD

For in game updates & additional access into the Missouri S&T Club Baseball Team, check out their Twitter handle below!

Missouri S&T:  MoST_ClubBSB

WEEK 7 RECAP

 

Series #1:

Kansas State (DII) @ Missouri S&T (DII):   Non-Conference Doubleheader

Missouri S&T takes 2!

 

Game 1 Box Score (MSST 9 – KSU 1)

Game 2 Box Score (MSST 4 – KSU 1)

 

Want more info? Check out each team’s Twitter handles below:

Kansas State:  KStateClubBSB

Missouri S&T:  MoST_ClubBSB

 

Series #2:

North Dakota State (DII) @ Iowa State (DI):  3 Non-Conference Games

Cancelled due to weather

 

Want more info? Check out each team’s Twitter handles below:

North Dakota Dakota State:  @NDSUclubbsb

Iowa State:  @ISUclubbaseball

 

WEEK 7 PREVIEW!

Series #1

Iowa State (DI) (8-2 Overall) vs. North Dakota State (DII) (3-5 Overall):

3 Non-Conference Games

Saturday 10/24 –  1:00 PM & 3:00 PM

Sunday 10/25 – 11:00 AM

Click Here to follow along with LIVE pitch by pitch updates!

For more access into both teams, check out their Twitter handles!

North Dakota Dakota State:  @NDSUclubbsb

Iowa State:  @ISUclubbaseball

 

 

 

Series #2

Kansas State (0-0 Overall) @ Missouri S&T (0-0 Overall) :

2 Non-Conference Games

Sunday 10/24 – 11:00 AM & 1:00 PM

Click Here to follow along with LIVE pitch by pitch updates!

For more access into both teams, check out their Twitter handles!

Kansas State:  KStateClubBSB

Missouri S&T:  MoST_ClubBSB

WEEK 5 PREVIEW!

 

Minnesota (DII) @ Iowa State (DI) – 3 Non-Conference Games:

Minnesota (DII) (2-4 conference play, 4-5 overall)

Iowa State (DI) (2-1 conference play, 2-1 overall)

Saturday 10/10 – TBD

Sunday 10/11 – TBD

For more access into both teams & to follow along throughout the weekend, check out their Twitter handles!

Iowa State:  @ISUclubbaseball

Minnesota:  @UMNClubBaseball

 

 

North Dakota (DII) @ North Dakota State (DII) – 2 Non-Conference Games

North Dakota State (DII) (2-4 conference play, 2-4 overall)

North Dakota (DII) (5-1 conference play, 5-1 overall)

Friday 10/9 – TBD

Sunday 10/10 – TBD

Click Here to follow along with LIVE pitch by pitch updates!

For more access into both teams, check out their Twitter handles!

North Dakota State:  @NDSUclubbsb

North Dakota:  @UND_Club_Ball