By Mya Hudgins, Contributing writer
February marked the season opener for OBU Baseball.
After earning the 2016 National Championship, the team was voted by the Great American Coaches poll as the preseason favorite, and they are looking forward to another successful year.
“We have been practicing since September, and I think they’re all ready to see someone in a different color uniform and start competing against somebody new,” head coach Bobby Cox said.
The Bison hopes the team will work together to complete a successful 2017 season.
“We would like to win the Great American Conference during the regular season,” Cox said.
“The other goal is to get back to Ohio and win the National Christian College tournament that they won last year and defend that.”
Senior and outfielder Joe Moran recognized the goals set by the OBU baseball team.
“[I’ll] do whatever I have to do to help my team win a national championship,” Moran said.
In fact, most returning players seem determined to win the GAC championship.
“Last year, we were voted at the bottom, and we won it all. Now, we were voted at the top, it’s something that we feel obligated to hold our [position] at the top,” Moran said.
The players seem to value teamwork on and off the field.
“This crew is a pretty close group, and they get along real well together; it’s a good group of guys,” Cox said.
“They seem to genuinely care about each other and want to see one another succeed. There is an accountability there that has been developed over the years and is passed down from team to team; I think you see that in this group of guys.”
The excitement continued as the season began.
“We are really excited for this year, we were voted preseason number one, so we know what is expected of us,” senior shortstop Dustyn Cook said.
While both players and coaches are focused on winning, a successful season involves more than just good stats.
“They [coaches] do a lot for us whether it is on the field or off the field; they are always for us. They make sure we are on top of our stuff, not only so we can graduate, but also become better people in life. We can’t thank them enough,” Moran said.
Other players echoed that sentiment.
“They are always available and very personal with us, like outside of baseball, they are able to communicate with all of us,” Cook said.
Although coach Cox has been the head coach of OBU for 33 years, he has learned many things through coaching all the teams that have come through during that time.
“You see God’s hand in a lot of what goes on by young people from all walks, creed, color and culture that come together here in Shawnee,” Cox said.
“It is a mixture that you would never envision or put together yourself. You see guys being brought here for a reason and a purpose…it is pretty amazing to see how it all comes together.”