By Andy/ PNW Sports Fans
Photo Credit: Daily Emerald
First of all, I owe everyone an apology. We’ve been way too inconsistent with updating content on here. So I’m just going to get this out of the way up front. Sorry for sucking. Not that anybody is reading this anyway, but I am sorry.
Well let me go ahead and jump right into it. The Oregon State baseball team is 21-1. By most standards that’s a pretty solid start (Thanks again for adding fuel to the fire coach Meggs. We’ll see you in a couple of weeks when the Beavs bring their brooms to Seattle).
After the great injustice of 2016 in being left out of the postseason , the 2017 Beavers aren’t leaving anything to chance.
Let’s take a look at what’s transpired to this point:
The Beavers have earned a unanimous No.1 ranking by getting the nod in all six of the major polls. They’ve won 16 games in a row, including a sweep of a top 10 Arizona team over the past weekend. They’ve shown resilience, winning three games in the final at bat over the span of a week. The team ERA is a filthy 1.55, while their batting average is hovering around .300. If that’s not enough they also lead the conference in stolen bases with 28.
Those are just a few noteworthy stats that start to tell the story of how dominant this team has been through the early part of the season. It’s easy to see that this team is as hungry as it is talented. Yes, it’s true that we aren’t even to April. But this squad looks to have all of the intangibles.
First of all you have fantastic coaching; This isn’t the first rodeo for Pat Casey and his experienced staff. You’d be hard pressed to find better coaching at any other program in the country. Casey is going to be that steadying force throughout the season. He tells it like it is, and he’s not going to sugarcoat anything. It also helps that he’s been on the biggest stage in college baseball several times.
This team is also the beneficiary of great pitching. Luke Heimlich, Jake Thompson and Bryce Fehmel provide a very solid starting rotation, and the depth of the bullpen is icing on the cake. Every team with aspirations for Omaha must have great pitching to get there. This team has that capability.
Another key ingredient which the Beavers posses is the ability to consistently hit the ball. Nick Magdrigal should change his name to Nick Magical. The guy flat out has “it”. He’s incredible at the plate, currently boasting a .407 average. Madrigal seemingly comes up with clutch hit after clutch hit. Madrigal is no doubt the face of the team, but he’s not the only one carrying the load. KJ Harrison has had an electric start (even while battling a thumb injury) posting a .337 average while knocking 12 RBI’s. On top of that, a host of other Beavers also have averages of .300 or better.
Leadership is crucial for a team with lofty goals. Luckily the Beavers have that and it has shown during some tense early season moments. Oregon State has several players who have extensive experience with Division 1 baseball. Some names that come to mind include, Max Engelbrekt, Christian Donahue, KJ Harrison, Jake Thompson, Luke Heimlich and others. These guys understand what it takes to be successful and know that nothing can be taken for granted (including that a 35-19 record is good enough to get you to the postseason).
I understand there’s many innings left to play this season, but I also understand that this team has the potential to be National Champions. A lot can happen between now and June, but I don’t think the 2017 Beavers will fade away. There will be losses along the way, that’s a given. However, I think what’s transpired so far is no fluke. This revenge tour is the real deal. Hopefully by the season’s end people will understand it’s unwise to piss off a Pat Casey coached team.