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Long Road Ahead
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tarheelsben1
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Post: #1
 
Looks like Wake has a pretty rough road ahead of them, hopefully they can find a good coach and get their stadium situation figured out

<a href='http://www.journalnow.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=WSJ%2FMGArticle%2FWSJ_BasicArticle&c=MGArticle&cid=1031775913842&path=!sports!baseball&s=1037645509208' target='_blank'>link</a>
06-07-2004 07:45 AM
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Lucy
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Post: #2
 
Wellman pulled another class move for a Wake Forest program in keeping the services of George Greer in a development position. Greer's name has a lot of pull in baseball circles & that will certainly help when fundraising for stadium improvements. The lack of lights at Hooks has been a bone of contention between baseball fans & the residents of Faculty Drive who don't want night games in their backyard (whiners, but I digress... 03-wink ) Even if the university must still negotiate the lighting situation with Faculty Drive, I think our fans deserve restrooms at Hooks at the very least.

Knowing Wellman's coaching search process from the Grobe & Prosser hires, I'm sure he has a list of names already. And there are probably feelers out there among head coaches & top assistants from schools participating in this year's NCAA regionals. I think the Wake program has history and coaching baseball in the ACC is a dream of many. Wellman should be able to snare another top talent to bring our program back to the level to which Wake fans & alumni are accustomed.
06-07-2004 09:02 AM
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JD Heel
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Post: #3
 
Lucy: What's your take on what happened this year to Wake baseball? Was it injuries... or lack of talent... or what?

This year was just such a stark contrast to the Wake Forest teams I've seen over the past few years. It was a little reminisicent of UNC's 8-20 basketball season, in a few ways. You just don't expect that from a program that's been so good lately.

-JD
06-07-2004 09:37 AM
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Lucy
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Post: #4
 
I'll speak to talent first. We lost 2 recruits to last year's draft, catcher Brandon Yarbrough to the Cardinals and Nick Ewen, a JC transfer to the Marlins. Most importantly, 5 key Deacons were signed to pro contracts: Kyle Sleeth, Jamie D'Antona, Adam Bourassa, Adam Hanson & Ryan Johnson. That's a serious loss of talent. However, this year's recruiting class was rated 27th in the nation and was a combination of freshmen & JC transfers. So we still had top players coming in. But think how our hitting might have been if our top recruit from 2000, Rocco Baldelli, had come to Wake instead of going pro with Tampa Bay...:eek:

Injuries hurt us, especially at pitching. Lee Land, Wake's top reliever/closer underwent Tommy John surgery on March 23 and will be out for a year for recovery. Brian Bach had a partially torn rotator cuff. Kirby Wedekind had a forearm injury most of the season.

Another intangible which may hurt a team's consistency or ability to get into a rhythm is weather. By mid-April Wake had had 10 weather-related cancellations, including a snowout in Boone on April 14th. :eek: They had 4 in a 16 day period in early April and I have to think that missing those games, especially not knowing up until game time whether you'll play due to wet field conditions or sudden monsoons, is hard on the team psyche, and especially hard on the pitching staff who warms up and then suddenly doesn't pitch.

Lots of excuses, but it comes down to not being able to finish games offensively or defensively. Wake was ahead in so many games, but gave up key hits & runs due to fielding errors or bullpen collapses. Many college teams have large bullpens, but rarely have to call on some of the weaker arms. Not so with Wake this year...at times there were only 5 healthy arms in the bullpen for an entire weekend series, so these guys were being depended on for longer outings than many typical bullpen members.

I think the pieces are there to build upon. I trust Ron Wellman to bring in a coach who will be able to rekindle the team's confidence & put the program back on the footing we had until recently.
06-07-2004 11:49 AM
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