Let’s Work

Bridgewater Baseball Puts Up Hard Work in the Off-Season

Kevin Tiffey, Staff Writer

Bridgewater, Va.- With it being a new year here at Bridgewater College, students are coming back to campus, and athletes as well. Now that teams are back, they are either in off-season or in-season training. The Bridgewater men’s baseball team is among the programs back on campus this semester. 

The off-season allows time for an athlete to learn to move properly, build muscle and work on mobility. These skills will help them become a better overall athlete and is just part of improving performance and excelling at their sport once the season returns.

“Training this off-season has been off to a good start, everyone seems to be buying in on the process,” said junior right-handed pitcher James Swart.

A part of off-season training is to do specific exercises that vary on the sport. Every year, the NCAA allows a certain amount of practice for teams with one another and the coaches. 

“We are training with Coach Tucker three times a week,” said Swart. “Most workouts consist of front squats, cleans and bench presses, along with a medicine ball circuit beforehand. Other than lifting, we also do conditioning. We do tempo runs and speed work.”

The off-season is the time for athletes to improve on their weaknesses. 

“Our mindset this off-season is to get better in something every day, because having that mindset now will pay off come spring,” said Swart

In the 2021-2022 season, the baseball team lost in the ODAC semifinals to the Lynchburg Hornets 4-1.

“The results of how last year ended kept us motivated this off-season because we were so close to our goal of a conference championship,” said Swart. “Finishing in the playoff semifinals the past two years is really driving us.” 

Head baseball coach Ben Spotts and his team had 26 wins in 2022. 

“Something special about the team for this year is how much returning experience we have,” said Swart. “So many of our big offensive threats are returning and on the mound, it looks the same, and add in the talented new guys we could have a special group overall.” 

Tucker, newly head of strength of conditioning at Bridgewater College, oversees the baseball team in and off-season training.

“Training has been good, feels like that group missed being in the weight room,” said Tucker. “I’m glad they’re back, and I feel they’re glad to be back.” 

Bridgewater’s exit in the semifinals from last year is something the players do not forget and use as motivation. 

“Players have been good, they seem hungry and dissatisfied with last year’s results and seem ready to win,” said Tucker. “They seem hungry, the same thing with the new guys, this team seems like they want to work hard and win.”

The baseball team works on improving speed by doing chain runs, one of the many drills they do to improve for this upcoming season. 

“Starting not until the fall, ball we are running two times a week and lifting two times a week with an emphasis on speed,” said Tucker. “We are getting this group ready for practice. We want to help guys earn a starting spot and help the starters dominate in their current position. We are creating competitors. If you put competitive people in competitive situations, you’re going to get a competitive result.” said Tucker.

There are 29 returners this year and nine new freshmen. 

“We are trying to improve their ability to play baseball. Our job is to help the athletes here get better at their sport, and that’s what we are going to do.” said, Tucker 

“We showed some promise last year, this group and the potential to be special,” said Tucker. “A lot of good people returning from last year and a lot of good people from that first-year group. It would be special to see ‘2022’ added to the wall in the right field. This group can do it if they really want it.”