The Drovers may have lost a few good seniors and even their coaching legend L.J. Powell, but new Head Coach Mike Ross isn’t worried about the 2010 baseball season. And judging by the first series, he may not need to be.
The Drovers headed to Tyler, Texas, to take on Texas College during the last weekend of January and came home with three victories (10-1, 15-7, 14-3), despite multiple errors. Ross said managing the team defensively will be crucial.
"That’s got to be something we do well,” he said. “(The series) was good offensively. We were productive.”
USAO graduated eight starters last season, but Ross said a lot of the new recruits have potential, so it might not hurt the team.
“In the beginning, I was really nervous because we lost a lot of speed and power, but I really think we have a better lineup,” he said.
Ross took over as head coach after spending four years as an assistant coach under Powell. He had spent a few years as a student assistant for the Drovers also. He said Powell prepared him well for his first head coaching position.
Ross is backed by assistant coaches Matt Hibbitts and Brian Wyatt.
Ross said the things he’s most concerned about as a head coach is the little things, like making sure the caravan is set up.
“Once you get on the field, everything is good,” he said of being the coach. “I feel I was ready and well prepared.”
And as for his players, Ross said he only expects the team to work hard.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do to be where we want to be,” he said. “If we do that, we’ll have a good season.”
Of course, the season will have to be in one of the toughest conferences in the league. Ross said the Sooner Athletic Conference will prove to be a challenging once more.
“It’s never easy, and it never will be easy,” he said. “But that’s what makes it fun.”
The Drovers will play their first home game against Bethany College at 1 p.m. Saturday. It will be a double header, and USAO will take on Bethany College again the next day.
Snow, ice and rain delayed the original home opener against Peru State University the previous weekend. Those games have been postponed to an undetermined date.