By Justin Murray
With Spring coming in early this year, the University of North Carolina’s Baseball team is anticipating an excellent season. The Forty-Niners’s season begins Friday February, 19th at home against The College William & Mary, but first the players must make it through spring training. Head Coach Loren Hibbs, who has been at the helm of the UNCC baseball program for 23 seasons, told me that this year’s spring camp went smoother than ever. When asked did he think his team was ready for the home opener he replied, “Honestly, we’re just ready to play someone else”. UNCC Baseball is prepared to battle hard and fight for every base this year. Their first game against William & Mary will be a great match-up to start the season.
The Forty-Niners have developed a fundamental style of baseball that demands for superb team play. Coach Hibbs told me that he expects the entire team to have a stand out season. He made a point to emphasize the team’s ability to “maximize their potential” this year.
Last year the Forty-Niners went 11-19 in conference play and 9-20 at home. With every coming season it seems as though someone takes the reins and pushes the team forward. There is no telling who will lead the Charlotte Forty-Niners but this season looks to be promising with an experienced infield and a very fast outfield.
When asked what made his team different from others in the conference Coach Hibbs said, “You know, we’ve got some of the hardest working student athletes in the conference, and Conference USA is tough”. With Coach Hibbs being the face of UNCC Baseball for twenty-three years, surely there’s a method to the madness. When asked did he have a recipe for recruiting players he smiled and responded wholesomely, “There’s no formula to tell if a player is going to do well for the program, but what I look for is two things: is he a good student and is he coachable? If he’s both of those things, then we can work with that”.
According to the UNCC’s website attendance for the first game looks to be nearly sold out and its up to the Forty-Niners baseball club to keep that attendance high. “Our guys work so hard throughout the course of the year and because of that hard work the student and fan base will always be in support of our team”.
Last year the Forty-Niners goal was to compete against top ranked teams. This year they look to do more than that. The Forty-Niners look to win every game as a team and with Hibbs coaching them up, they are sure to do just that.
With each new year college baseball fans dream their team can be the one holding a national title in their hands. However, many teams fall short of this dream. For Coach Hibbs, he looks forward to something a little more. “Winning a national title is always the goal at the end of the day, but what I really love to see is our student athletes become men. And that’s just as good as a National title”.