No. 1 ranking puts early pressure on CSN baseball

Being ranked No. 1 in two national polls is flattering, but for College of Southern Nevada baseball coach Tim Chambers, it’s too early.

Check back with him in three months and ask him about his team’s ranking then.

“Nobody wants to be No. 1 early,” Chambers said. “We’ll take it. I’d rather be No. 1 at the end. But now the kids have got to step up and play like the respect that they’ve been given.

“The pressure’s on. If we don’t win at the end, (people will say), ‘What happened? They choked.’ “

CSN (2-1) began its season last week, and plays at 4:30 p.m. today in the Coyote Classic against Yavapai College of Prescott, Ariz.

Baseball America and Perfect Game Crosschecker rank the Coyotes at the top of their polls. The official National Junior College Athletic Association rankings have not been posted, but Chambers said that poll reflects last year’s play, whereas Baseball America and Perfect Game have projections based on talent.

It is difficult to question CSN’s talent. Baseball America ranks three Coyotes players among the nation’s top four prospects — outfielder Devin Shepherd at No. 1, pitcher Colby Shreve at No. 2 and pitcher Taylor Cole at No. 4. Perfect Game lists the trio among its top nine.

The players will quickly discover if the high expectations are warranted.

CSN hosts Chipola College (Marianna, Fla.), the nation’s No. 2 team according to Perfect Game and No. 3 according to Baseball America, at 3 p.m. Friday. The teams will meet again Feb. 9 at Chipola.

Also on the schedule in the next 21/2 weeks are three other teams ranked in the top five.

“If we go through these teams winning, then there should be no reason why we (shouldn’t) take it all,” outfielder Brandon Trodick said.

But Chambers said the Coyotes need to keep their eyes on the big picture.

“We want to win games now, but we’re not going to win at all costs right now,” Chambers said. “We’re going to stick to our game plans. Pitchers are going to be on pitch counts. We’ve got guys slotted to throw in certain slots, and if we lose, we lose. If we lose, the rankings go down. Who cares? We’re not looking to be ranked No. 1 in January.”

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