In preparation, the Drovers have practiced Monday and Tuesday afternoon and had two scheduled practices Wednesday before the opening banquet on Wednesday evening.
“And then it will be time to play,” Ross said. “I don’t want to change anything up. It’s good for us in that we did this exact same thing last week — and here we are again.”
To keep the players calm, Ross said he continues to remind them to enjoy the once-in-a-lifetime experience of competing on the national stage.
“It’s been keeping them motivated to play well, and also for them to enjoy it,” he said “This is the first time we have been there, and I told them, ‘don’t take it for granted. Enjoy every minute of it.’”
“Let’s see how long we can go,” Ross added.
Defeating the Warriors
The Sterling College Warriors have impressive stats this year. In addition to having two starters — Joe Battaglia and Joe Williams — batting higher than .400, they have a relief pitcher, Steven Cazares, with an ERA of 1.01. As a team, the Warriors have stolen 129 bases.
“The keys to the game for us are we need to pitch well and be able to control their running game,” Ross said. “When you have that many stolen bases, that’s obviously an integral part of their offense.”
In addition to strong defense, Ross said the Drovers will have to deliver at the plate to stay in the game.
“Offensively, we just need to go out and do what we do,” he said. “We are going to face a really good arm that isn’t going to beat itself so we just need to go out and beat it at the plate.”
While this is the first trip for the Drovers, all four of the other teams have made previously trips to the national tournament and Sterling played at OCU last year as well.