Tournament time and a word of thanks

Hey Rebel fans,

I really want to thank all of you for the support this season. There have been some ups and downs, but your support never wavered. We really appreciate the unconditional love.

Today we play in the Mountain West tournament as the sixth seed in Reno, Nev. We have kind of dug ourselves a hole that might be tough to get out of, but it is definitely possible. We have what it takes to get out of this hole.

We open the tourney against San Jose State at 11:00 a.m. PT (you can watch the game online here). We played the Spartans last week and took two of three from them, but they are expected to start Kalei Contrades, who has had some success against us the last couple of years. I think we will make the necessary adjustments and will be all right. We can’t take the Spartans for granted by any means but I think we are going to come out and hit him around.

We are going to take care of business because we really don’t want to be a “one-and-done” team in this tournament. One thing we have going for us is that they haven’t seen Kenny Oakley, who is our probable starter. The winner of our game will have to turn around and play Fresno State at 3:00 p.m. PT, and we want to be that team.

Weather could potentially be a factor for the tournament this week. The forecast isn’t great all this week, but we will have to overcome that. We might suffer a few delays but so will everyone else.

Last week it was announced that I was a semifinalist for the Johnny Bench Award, which is handed out to the best catcher in the country. Twenty players were named semifinalists and it is a huge honor that my name is on that list. After last season I knew I had to improve defensively and I worked my tail off during the offseason on different defensive drills. To have other people recognize the hard work I put is really rewarding. The guys on the list are some incredible ball players and just to be considered is an honor.

As the season winds down, I want to say good luck to all of the guys on our team and to the rest of the guys in the conference with their future endeavors, whether it is on the baseball diamond or away from the field. There are a bunch of talented players in our conference that will get drafted and they will all represent our conference well. That talent has made our conference better as a whole this season. Despite our subpar record, it has been a fun season competing against those guys.

I want give a big shout out to Sage Sammons, our media relations director, and everyone at the Review-Journal for helping with the blog. I have had a ton of fun sharing my perspective on the season this year.

I also want to thank all of the readers. A bunch of people have come up to me and told me they were keeping up with the blog. I’m glad that you have enjoyed getting a little insight to our season.

We will talk soon!

-Erik VanMeetren

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