This will be the team’s first showcase under interim head coach Brett Richardson, who hopes to use the invitational as a measure of the team’s progress from last season.
“It will be a good gauge for us to open up against teams on our level,” Richardson said. “In recent years we opened up against teams like the University of South Florida and Central Florida, teams that were more advanced talent, budget, and facility wise but this time we starting off against teams just like us.”
After a disappointing season in 2010, in which the team won only 10 games and failed to make the MEAC tournament, Richardson and the Rattler baseball team hope that improved team chemistry and a focus on defense helps to carry them to a winning season.
Richardson said the key to Rattler success begins with fundamentals.
“I am big on the little things,” Richardson said. “You have to do step one to get to two and step two before you can get to three, focusing in big on the little things will ensure we’re successful.”
Richardson’s attitude has proven to be infectious, as his players seem to be falling in line with the coach’s approach this season.
“We have to hustle all the time even if we are losing,” said junior second basemen John Scott. “Coach has taught us that you don’t have to be talented or physically gifted to hustle, everyone can do it so there is no excuse not to.”
Scott is not the only player who has rededicated himself to playing hard at all times. Senior centerfielder Tobi Adeyemi believes that the entire team can benefit from playing hard for all nine innings.
“We have to compete at all times,” Adeyemi said. “Last year we didn’t give ourselves a chance in some games but if we compete at all times, some of those close games will go our way.”
The HBCU Invitational takes place February 3-5 in Greensboro.