For the first time in 370 days, the Rowan baseball team is set to return to competition.
After a series of cancellations to start the season, the team is now playing Cabrini University on Wednesday, March 17, instead of the originally scheduled date of Thursday, March 18, due to the forecast of potential rain.
Only a few weeks into the season, the team is already used to game delays and cancellations. Now with an unusual change being made to move the first game up a day in advance, senior second baseman and three-year co-captain Alex Kokos says that being prepared for any and all changes is a message the team has stressed since returning to practice a few months ago.
“Coach [Mike Dickson] constantly reminds us to stay ready and that games can be rescheduled at any point,” Kokos said. “During practice we know that we have to be ready at any point to play.”
Kokos is returning for his fifth and final season in hopes to cap off what has been an impressive career at Rowan. He has put together a career batting average of .328 along with 100 RBIs, and Dickson said Kokos has exemplified what it means to be a leader both on and off the field.
“The best thing you can do as a leader is lead by example. Show the players you’re going to be a tremendous worker on and off the field,” Dickson said. “You’re going to be the first one there and the last one to leave. You’re going to get it done in the classroom and Alex has shown that in his career. So that’s what I would continue to expect.”
For Kokos, working hard has been a staple of his character since he first suited up for the team, and the cancellation of last season has become a source of motivation to work even harder.
“I know from last year’s season that it can be taken away from me at any moment. Any time I step on the field, even if it’s practice, batting practice, if I’m there with my teammates just taking extra work, it’s just taking advantage of the time you have on the field because just in the snap of a finger it can all be gone,” Kokos said. “Any time I step onto the field I try to preach to the young guys that ‘you’re not here forever.’”
After a year without having played a game, the team is being thrown right back into the mix with their first four games coming in a span of six days. Kokos says the team has been eagerly waiting to get back into the swing of a packed schedule.
“I think we’re all excited to be honest,” Kokos said. “We haven’t played a game in over a year and we’re all chomping at the bit to get back out there. All we keep talking about is that all we want to do is play games no matter the weather, where we’re playing, if we have to travel three plus hours to a game even if it’s a one, nine-inning game, we don’t care. We just want to get out there and play.”
For Dickson, he believes that the key to Kokos’ success this season is to go out and try to enjoy the game without overthinking it too much.
“He’s just got to go out there and have fun, and I think if he does he’ll have a tremendous year and that’s what I’m expecting out of him,” Dickson said.
The team will be playing their first two games at home against Cabrini University and Immaculata University before they begin traveling. The team beat Cabrini on Wednesday 6-1.
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