While fall is typically a time where Major League Baseball starts to wrap up and head into post-season play, the Mavericks are only getting started.
Just one week into the new school year, the Omaha baseball team hit the ground running as they officially began individual workouts as well as strength and conditioning.
The Mavericks participated in their first of 45 team practices under interim-head coach Evan Porter on Sept. 16 and have been scrimmaging three times a week.
Porter, who was previously the assistant coach for four years, stepped in as interim-head coach after the dismissal of Bob Herold over the summer.
After the 45-day practice limit ends on Oct. 24, the Mavs get a winter break and the pitchers will have a chance to rest their arms in preparation for the 2017 season.
“The tricky thing with pitchers is that they go from pitching in the spring with our season, then they usually jump right into summer ball and pitch all summer and come back and pitch in the fall too,” Porter said. “It’s really hard on their arms, and it’s a good thing when those guys can get some rest.”
“Once we get back from winter break we go back into individual mode up until Jan. 26. That’s our first day we can do full-team practice,” Porter said. “And then two-and-a-half weeks later we hit the road to UNLV (University of Nevada-Las Vegas).
Aside from beginning the fall campaign, the Mavs also scrimmaged in front of scouts on Sept. 26 in participation of Scout Day.
Right-handed pitcher Brett Sasse said the first three innings took about an hour-and-a-half, and the last three were done in around a half hour.
“It was pretty brutal,” Sasse said. “I think we will learn as the season goes on that we have to deal with those pressures. There’s going to be a lot of times when we see scouts and those guns go up and it takes some getting used to.”
Scrimmaging in front of area scouts rose a lot of nerves for the team and the coaching staff, but Scout Day also brought to light many positives.
“A lot of our main guys that have been around the program had some rough times,” left-handed pitcher Sam Murphy said. “But it was nice to see the transfers and the younger guys kind of step up and win the day for us because it was going pretty brutal there for awhile.”
When asked about the new coaching transitions, the team is pretty confident. “There’s always going to be some sort of (former) coach (Bob) Herold left over,” said Murphy. “Whether that be some plays we run, the attitude or the way the team is ran, but otherwise it’s almost been a seamless transition.”
Fall practices and scrimmages present an opportunity for the Mavericks and the coaching staff to find out where the team is and prepare for another run at a conference title.
“We will do a lot of PFPs (pitcher fielding practices) where we work on bunt defense, pick off plays and holding runners,” Porter said. “We’re planning on winning a conference championship, getting hot at the right time and seeing where we can go.”
The Mavericks will open the 2017 season on Feb. 17 when Omaha takes the field against the University of Nevada-Las Vegas Rebels.