Louisiana-Lafayette Softball Forces Game Three, Falls to Michigan 2-1 at NCAA Super Regionals http://t.co/frELflbRYg
I recently had a chance to sit down and speak with Head Baseball Coach Mark Calvi. On the eve of the Sun Belt Baseball Tournament, here are some of his thoughts.
Have you ever been around a team with this many injuries…
“No. I’ve never even heard of a team having this type of injury situation. We’ve had more injuries this year than we had in the 6 years I was at South Carolina. At one point this year, with multiple guys out with injury, we were playing with roughly six-and-a-half scholarships. And so many of the injuries have been crazy, freaky injuries that happened doing everyday baseball things in games or at practice. If baseball has a way of evening itself out, we should go years without an injury.”
On the effort…
“The effort has been fantastic. The guys, even with all of the injuries, they haven’t quite. Most teams, a very high percentage of teams would have packed it in a month ago. Right about the time Izzy went down, it would have been really easy for them to say ‘you know what this just ain’t happening for us.’ They don’t. They show. They want to win and they get after it. They depth has gotten us in some games, but it hasn’t been a lack of effort.”
We went from I think the 8th seed last year to the fourth seed this year. It’s a start but it’s not where we want to be. It’s not where our expectations are. We’re going to go out and try to get better. That starts with recruiting. We feel like we signed a really good group of players in the fall, a lot of really good high school guys and we’re trying to add some more before the fall, probably all 2-year guys. At South Carolina, we always had junior college players, sometimes as much as 30% of our roster. I don’t know if we’ll ever be at 30% here, but 60/40 (high school to JC) split is possible, maybe even 65/35. The key is to have talented guys (high school) in the program. They’ve taken their lumps. They’ve got credentials. They’ve been to Murfreesboro, Jonesboro and Lafayette. We won’t be back to where we want to be until we have more of those “program guys.”
Can we make a run in the SBC Tournament…
“I think we can. Little Rock won it last year. I hate to have to bank on winning, but that’s where we are.
It might take a pitcher having the game of his life, or somebody getting hot with the bat and carrying the team. We’re leading the league in heading. If we stay hot with the bats, and are starters can get us deep, we have a chance. We’ve also stretched out some of our middle relief pitchers (Bailey, Fonzi, Dennis), so we can get some extended innings out of them if we need it. You win the game that’s in front of you, because you never know when you’re going to get rained out and get an extra day of rest. So you do what you have to do to win the next one, and that’s what we’ll do. That’s where it’s at. I hate, but that’s where it’s at.”
The first week of May the Jaguars pulled the trigger on an offer to Valdes, joining Massachusetts, FAU, Ball State, Toledo and Western Michigan. Iowa State has shown recent interest and more programs are likely to follow after a Co-MVP performance at a recent Rivals camp. However, Valdes said that he is taking little notice of recruiting right now, focusing on the upcoming season for Lakewood.
His size would indicate that he is a possession-type receiver but Valdes takes pride in being an all-around receiver who can also go deep and is willing to block. He thinks his ability to run after the catch is is greatest attribute as a receiver.
The most important factor when choosing a college for him will be the availability of playing time. Obviously academics will play a role in his future as well as he has aspirations of majoring in sports management or becoming a sports attorney.
It appears as though Valdes will wait to select a college until after his senior season and JagsJungle.com will keep you apprised when that decision is reached.