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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Texas A&M club baseball keeps its hope alive

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TAMU Club Baseball

Club sports are an integral part of athletic culture at Texas A&M, providing many students with an opportunity to play competitive sports after high school. The student-run organized teams compete against squads from other universities, similar to the collegiate teams. Club baseball is no exception, and in the face of the pandemic they face a unique set of challenges.
After tryouts, the team meets twice a week. The season generally happens in the spring, so the fall semester serves as a period of time for the team to host practices and scrimmages in preparation for competition. The team also participates in social gatherings outside of baseball, if possible.
In the spring, the Aggies will begin competing, facing UTSA, Texas State and Texas. The team also likes to set up out-of-conference opponents, such as LSU, Tulane, North Texas and Texas Tech.
With these games comes long bus rides, some as long as 20 hours. While these rides can get extensive, the team finds ways to stay entertained, said pitcher and team coach Jason Pueblo.
“The guys make it enjoyable,” Pueblo said. “It’s really the atmosphere that we have built within ourselves. Sure, we’re crammed in there, but we’re still having a good time. These guys are my friends, and I love hanging out with them outside of baseball.”
Last spring, the team saw their season cut short by the COVID-19 outbreak. Despite the best efforts of the National Club Baseball Association to set up a World Series, the remaining games after Spring Break never happened. The cancellation was especially devastating for the seniors, who played their last game without knowing it would be the last time they would take the field. The experience has added a sense of motivation for the Aggies to pick up where they left off, Pueblo said.
“It was tough; it left a bad taste in our mouths,” Pueblo said. “Seeing the seniors not get the closure of the careers they were able to have was the worst part about it. That makes us that are still on the team realize that we need to hold each season near and dear to our hearts. You really don’t know when that last at bat, that last pitch, is going to come.”
The team is still uncertain about this upcoming season. Having qualified for the World Series tournament in three of the last four seasons, the Aggies have built a tradition of success. They just need the cards to fall their way for the NCBA.
If the team gets a chance to play, they have the returning talent to make noise in the postseason. Pitchers Eric Dluzniewski and John Najvar, as well as catcher Kade Keener, will headline the 2021 squad.
“I want to have some fun and continue to develop our friendships and the connections that we have,” Pueblo said. “Sure we can win, but I want to make sure that when we look back on it, we have some life-long friends. That’s a big goal as well.”

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