Tarleton Baseball shows perseverance through pandemic


Blake Smith/The JTAC

Zach Gagnon, Spencer Bloom, Alex Pinedo, and Kemuel Thomas Rivera representing their team and their country’s flags at the Spring 2021 season sports media day.

The COVID-19 pandemic affected millions including student athletes. Being an athlete alone is already challenging, but the life of a student athlete is a completely different story. With the shortened season and the lack of formal practices, this season seemed to be taking a number of setbacks. The major seasonal setbacks, however, have not changed the amount of dedication the Tarleton State University Texans have exhibited.
Although their season was cut short, the Tarleton State baseball team managed to end the season with a 14-10 overall record and a three game winning streak. The extended break between seasons has not affected the teams drive to win. Although the pandemic has changed every athlete’s life significantly, the amount of mental and physical preparations needed in order to maintain the previous winning streak have not been overlooked.
“With only having a 14 game season last year and then getting sent home early because of COVID-19, a lot of the mental and physical preparation was personal. Knowing that the team is going to come back ready to go after being on your own workout program and preparing yourself for the team was a big deal. It’s all about making sure the guys are locked in and ready to go,” Tarleton State baseball captain, Michael Pilato said.
Due to COVID-19, there are no tournaments scheduled for the 2021 season. However, there are 20 home games scheduled for the approaching season as well as 33 away games.

The first game of the season is scheduled for Feb. 19 at 2 p.m. against Abilene Christian University. Following this game, Tarleton State will face off against Abilene Christian on Feb. 20 at 2 p.m. and Feb. 21 at 1 p.m. The games will be held at the Cecil Ballow Baseball Complex in Stephenville. Tickets for each game are available through the Tarleton Sports app. All students get in free with student ID. The general admissions tickets for non students are $5. In order to purchase tickets online, fans can visit the Tarleton Sports website or tickets can be purchased at the gate. However, when purchasing tickets, Tarleton Sports asks that fans make cashless purchases in order to cutback ticket purchasing times. Face coverings and social distancing is not only encouraged but will be enforced. For more information about how to stay safe or purchase baseball tickets, visit the Tarleton Sports website or app.
“Unfortunately, our last season was cut short but that reminded me to never take any game for granted. I learned to play every game like it’s your last because you never know if it will be,” infield player, Tyler Fowler said.
On average, the Tarleton State men’s baseball team practices five to six times a week for about three hours a day. The endless hours of practice on and off the field has prepared the team for the number of talented opponents on the current season lineup. Outside of having to prepare for practice, each member of the team has a personalized pre-game ritual that helps them physically and mentally prepare for an upcoming game.
“My pre-game routine is essential. Usually, I try to get a good night of sleep, wake up, eat a good breakfast and then I usually like to nap before the game. It helps me focus better during the game,” Fowler said.
“I would like to say we don’t think about the win streak at all. Ideally, we just go day by day and try not to focus too much on the stats. We have a lot of good teams on the schedule so we don’t really have teams that are wins with no problems. The only thing we can do is go out there and compete to the best of our ability in order to give ourselves the best chance to win this year,” outfielder, London Green said.
“I’m super excited to play Seattle University because I think it will be fun to visit the city and I heard they have a really nice field. I think they will be really good competition for the team,” outfielder, Wade Raburn said.
The new season is only three weeks away and the excitement surrounding the upcoming season has been building up since the previous season was shortened. Aside from the months of practice, the team has continued to work hard on and off the field to deliver a winning season to its dedicated fans.
“Everybody better get ready because we’re ready to go, ready to play, and ready to shock the world,” pitcher, Justin Waltmon said.
Despite the shortened season and global pandemic, the Tarleton State University men’s baseball team has worked nonstop to exhibit their strengths out on the field. The pandemic might have shortened the season but it didn’t take time away from the team’s tentative practice schedule. This season’s lineup is packed with an assortment of talented teams but the men’s baseball is ready to bring the heat.

Bryce Hackett , Sid Payan, Luke Baley, Michael Pilato , Zane Badmaev and Landon Cody at the 2021 Spring Sports Media Day event on Jan. 17, 2021. (Blake Smith/The JTAC)