Panthers getting back into swing of things

Adam Tumino, Editor-in-Chief

Although the Eastern baseball team  will not be missing out on any actual games this semester, their offseason plans have been altered by COVID-19.

The Panthers returned to practice recently after not playing or practicing together since March 11, just two days before the rest of the 2020 season was canceled. The Panthers were 8-6 at the time with a 2-1 conference record and had won their last four games in a row.

Eastern’s roster is also sizeable this year, with six redshirt-seniors bolstering their the numbers.

Head coach Jason Anderson, who will begin his sixth season as head coach when the 2021 campaign gets underway, said he was happy to be back practicing after more than six months apart.

“Just with all the protocols in place, getting guys back out here that in some cases haven’t played baseball in six months, we’re very fortunate to get them out here,” Anderson said. “We’re just really trying to ease our way back into baseball, keeping everybody healthy and getting them back into shape.”

Anderson said that in addition to keeping everyone healthy as practices resume, another main goal is getting a large roster to build chemistry in the fall.

“For us it’s just taking it easy and getting to know each other and really doing things the right way,” he said.

Normally, the Panthers would be able to play a few exhibition games during the fall, but with COVID-19 restrictions, those will not be able to happen this year.

Anderson said that despite this change, they are trying to make things feel mostly the same.

“We’re trying to be as normal as possible,” he said.” We’re going to hopefully get some scrimmages in here in a couple weeks, once the pitchers get built up. But once we get going and once we know everybody’s in good shape and healthy, that’s going to be our main goal is trying to play as much baseball as we can.

Coming off an abbreviated 2020 season in which the Panthers were playing productive baseball, Anderson said the message to the team has been to pick up where they left off.

When the season was postponed, Eastern was tied for third in the OVC. Their team ERA of 3.66 ranked third in the conference as well, despite two blowout losses early in the season to an Arkansas team that ranked No. 5 in the country.

“The message to the players has been, from the get-go, is we’ve got unfinished business,” Anderson said. “We had a great start last year, a great year all together, but you know its a reset button. We’ve got to start all over again and get back going.”

 

Adam Tumino can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]