Fall Report: Long Beach StateAnalysis
LONG BEACH, Calif. — It’s almost easy to forget the the Long Beach State Dirtbags made a lot of noise in the post-season last year, taking Miami down to the wire in a pair of games in the Coral Gables Regional, but seeing both end up short in one-run nailbiters.
Sitting in the Long Beach State coaches office this past weekend talking with assistant coach Greg Bergeron, he shakes his head thinking about the little implosions that cost the Dirtbags in both games.
“We were this close,” he says holding his forefinger and thumb an inch apart. “If not for a couple of fundamental mistakes…”
Had the baseball gods shined down on the Dirtbags a little more kindly, we could easily have been talking about a Boston College-Long Beach State Super Regional at Blair Field, which you would’ve liked the Beach’s chances there. Voila, that’s two Big West teams in Omaha, right?
Ah, that’s the nature of our sport. Missed it by THAT much.
But the fall has seen the Dirtbags reload for another run at the Big West title and the NCAA tournament. The staff is making sure they know there is a greater goal out there that is attainable. And of course, the memory of the Miami near-misses is still prevalent here in the fall.
“Miami beat us, but we also felt like we gave them both games,” Bergeron says. “There were a lot of little things that beat us, like kicking a bunt play, walking the first batter, some base running blunders… that’s why we’ve really locked in on a lot of the fundamental things this fall. The things we broke down on in Miami we are really shoving down our kids throats here now.
“We keep telling them, ‘you guys were this close’ or ‘we were a runner scoring from first on a double away from winning that Regional.’ We’re just needling our guys a little bit. Letting them know that the routine things are what can get you to Omaha.”
Head coach Troy Buckley and assistants Mike Steele and Zach Miller, join Bergeron in liking the talent that comes back to the roster and they feel the newcomers will adjust to the Dirtbag culture seamlessly to keep them in the hunt for some championships.
“If everybody does what they were brought in to do, we like our chances this year,” Bergeron said. “We have just about everybody back in the field and the batting order, so we’ll be veterans in that sense.”
Though they have only been in fall practice for a week and a half, here is how the Dirtbags break down in every area as they look toward 2017.
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