May 8, 2006
Albany -- The Albany State baseball team finished the season strong, winning ten of their last eleven games, including four straight in the SIAC tournament.
The conference title giving the Rams an automatic birth into the NCAA Division II national tournament for the first time ever.
The only problem being ASU played its last game three weeks ago, and they don't start the playoffs until May 18th, but the Rams say they'll be ready.
Even though Albany State knew they'd be in the Division II national tournament back in mid-April, they still don't know who they'll be playing.
Junior Chauncey Ward says, "To me, it really doesn't matter. Baseball is baseball. We're just going to go out there and compete. That's all we can do."
Head coach Edward Taylor says, "We got a conference call on Tuesday, so we'll be finding out. We're probably going to Tampa, to play the University of Tampa in the first round."
The Rams say the long lay-off could make things difficult.
"They're going to be still in their groove, still ridin' with it," says the third baseman Ward. "That's why we're trying to stay fresh coming out here practicing. Scrimmaging. Seeing a lot of live pitching. Trying to keep up with them. It kind of hurts us a little bit with the lay-off, but we'll be allright."
"Just practicing and scrimmaging," says Taylor. "A controlled scrimmage is what we do every week. At the end of this week we're going to have a scrimmage with Erskine College. They'll come down and play a four game series with us."
Taylor says the series should be a big benefit to both teams.
"They're getting ready for their regional as well, and coach called and asked if they could come down and play a four game series. We needed it. They needed it. So come on down, we'll play."
Ward says, "We haven't seen Erskine College before, so it'll be good that we get a fresh team. They don't know too much about us, we don't know too much about them."
With a conference championship and the schools first trip to regionals, Taylor says his team has a lot to play for.
"That's motivation enough right there. The only thing they're asking about now is conference rings, when are they going to get their rings. I told them 'go down and win a couple of games and we'll see about getting those rings a little quicker.' Try to get them motivated a little bit."
The Division II baseball regional series begin May 18th.