Written by Corey Zeh
As I listened to the analysts and pundants say that the PA regional was going to be a cake-walk for our team, I thought back to a press conference that Nick Saban held several years ago. His team was 3/4 into the season and was taking a “break” from the grueling SEC schedule to play some team from a much lesser conference that was paid to roll into Tuscaloosa and be used as a punching bag. He was asked how he keeps his team focused since Alabama could essentially name their own score for that game. His response was “we aren’t playing against an opponent this week, we’re playing against a standard”. I wanted to bring this same attitude to regionals. We had already qualified and quite frankly even had we played our absolute worst we would still have finished top 3. Our challenge was to play up to our standard.
Beyond the motivation to win each game, beyond the motivation to win our regional, beyond the motivation to get a high seed, the real motivation lies within. We aren’t just out there to look good (and we do), we’re not even out there to play well. We’re out there to represent our league, and the way we play and the way we act is a direct reflection on all 50+ players in our league this year, and all 250+ players that have ever played in our league. It was and is our duty and responsibility to carry our standard wherever we go. So when in our last game a bobbled play at 3rd base resulted in our first hit given up all day, I was upset. Does that make me a D-Bag? Probably, but only for the moment. Setting a high standard is what keeps us focused, and i’m proud that my guys could reach that standard. It would have been so easy to just say “Screw it”, we’ve done enough, or “screw it, i’m too hungover”. We didn’t though. We don’t want the easy way out or the path of least resistance. We weren’t at regionals just because we had to be. We wanted to be there, we wanted to win, we wanted blood. This type of attitude is what works best for us, it keeps our eye on the prize. There are no easy roads to a national championship, we know this, and we wouldn’t want it any other way.