In 2020, the baseball team had plans to fly down to Auburndale, Florida for spring break. Auburndale, a small town tucked in between the two metropolitan mainstays of Tampa and Orlando, serves as the baseball team’s spring training destination. However, two days prior to their scheduled departure, the College canceled the trip for Covid-19 precautionary measures and, just a few days later, sent all students home.
This spring, two years later, the baseball team was finally able to return to the Sunshine State—an opportunity that players were determined to take advantage of.
“After a couple of weeks practicing [in Maine], we haven’t been able to get outside because of the cold,” Bobby Pearl ’23, an outfielder on the team, said. “But getting off the plane in Florida, where it is 75 degrees and sunny, was an awesome feeling. It was great to just get the ball rolling and play some great baseball in some great weather.”
Similar to Pearl, Pitcher Jack Mullen ’23 was thrilled to be back in Florida as a team for the first time in two years. Although the team’s success in Auburndale did not always translate to their game-to-game record, Mullen believed the team showed tremendous growth in their time away from campus and remains optimistic for future games.
“Overall, I think it was a great team bonding trip,” Mullen said. “We struggled a little bit record-wise, but for the most part, we played competitive games. We have a couple of things to sort out, but, after that, I think we’ll get a nice winning streak going.”
Mullen emphasized the team’s mindset in achieving process-oriented goals rather than judging their success based on the numbers of wins and losses in their schedule.
“Our big goal is to play baseball better than our opponent—no matter if they’re better than us [or] worse than us,” Mullen said. “On that day, we just want to be better than them. For the most part I think we’ve done that. Our record might not show it, but, going forward, I’m optimistic.”
As the season continues, Mullen also acknowledged a few tangible goals that the team is keeping in their sight.
“We definitely want to get to the NESCAC playoffs, but obviously a NESCAC championship would be awesome,” Mullen said.
However, the baseball team has recently struggled to string wins together, with their last back to back wins occurring on April 2 against University of Maine-Farmington. Since then, the team has won one out of their last six games, albeit against a historically-dominant Trinity team. Most recently, the team suffered a shocking 1-4 loss against underdog Thomas College.
Despite the team’s losses, Mullen is proud of the way that his fellow players have handled the adversity.
“Even though we’re losing games right now, we’re still really positive, and there’s no blaming happening right now after we lose,” Mullen said. “I think that’s really important, especially because we want to turn our season around right now.”
Moving forward, the team is focusing on being the best version of itself, outplaying its opponents and staying together as a group. However, both Mullen and Pearl admit that there are a few special games circled on the team’s calendar.
“We are definitely taking it weekend by weekend,” Pearl said. “But, seeing Colby on the schedule, it is always pretty sweet to play them and get a couple wins. They are going to be awesome to play. It’s a great rivalry … and looking down the road and seeing them on the schedule is pretty exciting.”
The Polar Bears will host Tufts this weekend in a three-game series in Brunswick in a NESCAC showdown.