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Diamond Diary by Kevin Cooney

April 22, 2003

Weekend at Wally World...

OK, Disney World. OK, Jay Bergman Field.

Two out of three again in a conference series, good enough to keep us in first place, good enough to move us as high as 13th in one poll, 14th in another; is that really good enough? I don't think so. It's amazing how the timing of the wins can determine how good you feel at the end of the weekend. The bus ride home Saturday felt a whole lot better than the bus ride back to the hotel Friday night. It was tough losing that first game. Tough to watch us play such poor defense, and fail to solve the puzzle of UCF's pitching. Tough to watch Core have a bad outing in a game he wanted to win so badly. Danny took it hard, but he's a gamer and will bounce back. We all managed to bounce back Saturday and even showed that we can win without hitting a "big fly".

Our offense was clicking on all cylinders as we put up a five spot in the first and added on later. Meanwhile, Randy Beam was carving up the Knights' batters. He went on to throw a one hitter and earn A-Sun Pitcher of the Week. The only hit was an infield single.

In the third game, Travis NeSmith came out and threw a solid three innings and then gave way to Saxton, O'Brien, Pillsbury. Those are some pretty good pitchers to be trotting out of the pen. I just wish we were playing nine inning games in these doubleheaders. The advantage of deep pitching is somewhat blunted by two seven inning games.

So what came out of this weekend? Well, a few things. We finally won a series from UCF, first time in five years. No matter how good we have been, they have been able to beat us each year. It felt good to walk out of there disappointed in not sweeping, instead of having lost a series again. I would love to have had some FAU administrators and boosters at Jay Bergman Field. UCF should be proud of the facility that they have built. The place is clean and set up nicely for players, and the fans are right on top of you, which gives a chance for hecklers to be effective. The grass is beautiful and well maintained. If we are going to remain a top twenty program, we have some work cut out for us. Our facility needs a major upgrade, and that means only one thing...CASH!

Someone has to step up and recognize the value of having a top flight facility to match a program that has surpassed the expectations of the guy running it.

Thanks to the hard work of Coach McCormack in identifying, and then cajoling players into coming to Florida Atlantic, and thanks to the coaching efforts of guys like Steve Whitaker, Jim Lyttle, Bob Deutschman, Dickie Hart, and George Roig, along with the performance of all the great kids that have so rapidly put us on the map in college baseball, we have gone from an independent Division II program, to a perennial Division I conference leader and nationally ranked team year after hard fought year. But the ability to maintain this level of success, and eventually spend June in Omaha, is directly tied to some things that are out of our direct control.

It is important for someone out there to recognize what is happening here and want to become part of the process. We need someone from outside to help push us over the top. If being part of the best is important to you as a fan, we have the opportunity for you to jump on board. There is a Stadium waiting to be built. We need help in identifying and providing the capital that is necessary. I know times are hard, the market is down, the State is broke...those things don't seem to be stopping our competitors!

If you want to help, if you have some solid ideas, if you are committed to greatness...give me a call. KC



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