BRIDGEWATER, Va. - Pitchers and catchers report on Feb. 10. Those are sweet words for any Major League Baseball fan. It’s a sign that baseball season and spring are just around the corner.
Here at Bridgewater College, pitchers and catchers, along with a whole slew of other student-athletes, will report on Jan. 21. That’s when practice season starts for the spring sports of baseball, softball and men’s and women’s lacrosse.
Spring may still be several weeks away, but spring sports are literally right around the corner.
The new kids on the block (no, not the 80s boy band, but men’s lacrosse) will hit the practice field for the first time in less than two weeks. Head coach Mic Grant expects between 35 and 40 players to report for the season. The Eagles open the season at home on Feb. 23 when they host Transylvania, another first-year lax program.
Third-year women’s lacrosse head coach Kim Lowry expects a roster of about 20 to report for practice. Lowry welcomes back plenty of experience as eight of 11 starters are back in the fold this season. Bridgewater opens its season at home on March 3 against Frostburg State.
Veteran softball coach Donnie Fulk expects to have another solid squad in 2013. The Eagles return their top two pitchers and six of eight position starters. Bridgewater lost in the ODAC championship game last year to Roanoke. Roanoke went on to finish fourth in the nation. The Eagles open the season in Atlanta on Mar. 23-24 with games against perennial powers Emory University and Mississippi College. Emory finished 34-5 a year ago and was ranked No. 13 in the final 2012 poll. Mississippi College was 26-14 in 2012. The Eagles play their home opener on Mar. 3 against McDaniel.
The Bridgewater baseball team will look to contend for another conference title with an experienced lineup and deep pitching staff. Coach Curt Kendall welcomes back two infield starters along with the team’s top four outfielders. Also, back is the team’s starting designated hitter. Despite the loss of ODAC Pitcher of the Year Kevin Chandler, the Eagles still return four solid starters and a strong bullpen to the mound. With the addition of regional power Shenandoah to the ODAC this season, the top of the conference should be stronger and more crowded than ever. First pitch for the BC baseball team is Feb. 12 when the Eagles travel to Ferrum College. The Eagles open their home season on Feb. 23 with a doubleheader against Messiah.
Several programs – riding, men’s and women’s golf and men’s and women’s tennis – compete in both the fall and spring seasons.
The men’s tennis team is poised for another strong season in 2013. A year ago, the Eagles advanced to the ODAC Championship finals where they lost to perennial power Washington and Lee. Five of the team’s top six players return to the ladder this season. Bridgewater opens its spring season on Feb. 8 with a match at Division I Liberty University.
The women’s tennis team returns three of its top six singles player from a year ago, including No. 1 player Katie Gordon. The Eagles open spring play on Feb. 23 at Randolph College.
After a solid fall season, the men’s golf team will return to the course on Feb. 25-26 at the Pine Needles Invitational. The Eagles placed second in three tournaments this fall – The Tom Kinder Memorial, the Hampden-Sydney Invitational and the VSGA State Intercollegiate.
The women’s golf team is in its inaugural year of competition and first-year players Andrea Walker and Marin Warring performed well during the fall season. The duo will open the spring swing during spring break at Hilton Head.
The Bridgewater riders will return to the IHSA circuit on Jan. 26 at the IHSA Winter Tournament of Champions in Chatham, Va. The Eagles finished the fall show season in third place in the region standings, but they are just six points behind regional leader Hollins University.
Finally track season is divided between the indoor and outdoor seasons, but there is very little break between the two. The Eagles will begin indoor competition on Jan. 18 when they travel to Susquehanna College.
The women’s track team should be strong in the distance and jumping events while the men should fare well in the jumps, the sprints and the distance events. Bridgewater will host the Doc Jopson Invitational on Mar. 23.
Remember to check the website at bridgewatereagles.com for the latest in results and schedule changes. Also more in-depth team previews will be posted in the weeks to come.