Fall Report: Dallas Baptist

Fall Report

DALLAS — Pardon me if I steal the opening from Aaron Fitt’s “Fall Report” on the Patriots from a year ago. He started his write-up with “The Dallas Baptist baseball program has been a model of consistency in the Dan Heefner era. The Patriots have made seven regionals in 10 years under Heefner. DBU is one of just six programs in the nation that has topped 40 wins each of the last four seasons…”

Well, take that paragraph and make it eight regionals in 11 years and plug in that DBU now has 40-plus wins over the last five seasons. By the way, there are now only four programs that can claim that. Can you name the other three?…………… Florida, Florida State and Louisville.

And yes, there is li’l ole DBU joining those blue bloods. And I don’t mean “li’l ole” in a derogatory manner. It’s just that those other programs are SEC/ACC perennial powers with massive enrollment. Yet there is Dallas Baptist, with its undergraduate enrollment of 3,161 being one of the most successful programs in the country. You can blame Dan Heefner for that. It’s his fault this program is so outstanding.

Guess what else? After sitting with coach Heefner and his trusty assistant Dan Fitzgerald last week to talk about their fall workouts, don’t be surprised if the Pats stalk the summit on 40-plus wins again in 2019. Oh sure, there is plenty of attrition from last year’s regional runner-ups, but the Patriot program has gotten to the point where they don’t rebuild, but rather just reload. (I’m also pretty sure coach Heefner would hate that I just wrote that but it’s true.).

The good news is that the pitching staff returns 36 starts on the mound and 350 of last year’s 552 innings thrown. The bad news is that only three starters in the field come back to campus, however, there are plenty of reasons for optimism in the replacements and the newcomers that will fill some of the open positions in the field and at the dish.

In other words, these guys aren’t looking for sympathy for their losses.

“This is a really fun team,” coach Heefner said of the fall session. “It’s totally different from last year, we’ve got a lot of new guys. But they show up hungry and really wanting to work each day. They’ve also bonded really well this fall too. It’s been as fun of a fall as I’ve ever had here.”

This will once again be a strength for the Patriots, despite the departures of eight-game winner Trevor Conn and 14-game starter Kody Funderburk. The Pats did have a slightly-high 4.53 team ERA but opponents hit just .258 off them.

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