The Montana Grizzly club baseball team is off to an almost picture perfect start so far this spring. They’re 4-0 in conference play and 6-2 overall. The veterans are very excited about their level of play so far.
"Easily the most talented group so far that I’ve been a part of in my three years here,” said senior second baseman at practice on Wednesday. “Our pitching staff is phenomenal."
"I think what sets this team apart from last year and other teams a lot is our chemistry and just our amazing depth,” says sophomore infielder Emmitt Stangel. “You look at a lot of positions and we're two or three deep every time."
The Grizzlies had a great season last year but came up just one game short of advancing to the regional tournament. This year's team has kept that in mind all off-season.
"That loss to Boise State still makes them sick to their stomach,” said Montana’s head coach Ryan Sharkey. “Our seniors aren't going to go out on that note again if they have it their way."
"Honestly our expectations this year are to make it to the World Series and go to Tampa,” says Bell. “That’s how talented we are this year. That’s my expectations. I think we can win regionals."
"It’s World Series or bust,” agrees Stangel. “I think that saying this team has the caliber and the drive to get there is a total understatement. I think all 22 guys have one goal and one goal only and that's getting to Tampa Bay."
The squad is very excited for their first home games of the season this weekend. And the first of those games will be Friday night against their in-state rival Montana State.
"Yeah anytime you have a Cat-Griz rivalry game you might as well throw the scouting reports out the window,” said Sharkey. “Games are played with a lot of emotion and pride."
"Every year I get just as excited as I was my first year here,” says Bell about playing the Bobcats. “You feel a part of the University. I treat it no different than if it was Cat-Griz football here. You know that's how I go about it and I know every one of these guys feels the same way."
"You know playing the Cats is always kind of tough because it's your in-state rival and you're not a competitor if you don't think about it all day long and you're not jacked up,” said Stangel. “And as they've proven in years past the Cats are definitely not a team that you can sleep on."
Following Friday’s rivalry contest with Montana State, the Griz will then entertain Weber State Saturday and Sunday for a three game series.