For baseball fans, when a player struggles or has a bad game after consistently crushing the competition it is a telling moment. On the flip side, other players who start off rocky, can break through with their talent shining for all to see.
Head coach Chris Lemonis said he has seen improvement in Josh Hatcher, a sophomore from Albany, Georgia, who had five hits in the University of Florida series this past week and two hits against the University of Little Rock Arkansas. Lemonis said he focuses on the players' improvement and the work they put into this team, not just the obvious talent of the players.
“We talked about it in our dug out—we need someone out here to get hot," Lemonis said. "I gave him (Hatcher) a lot of credit because you know he had a bad spring training and he wasn’t in the mix for the first couple of weeks. Kept his head up, worked extremely hard, started to see an MVP, and now you're getting to see him between the lines.”
Hatcher said he has put himself in a better position following the series against Florida and the midweek game against ULAR.
“I'm in a good spot right now,” Hatcher said. “I’ve been waiting to get my turn, I just want to give my team the best chance to win.”
Hatcher knows balancing life as a student athlete takes a lot of work and dedication. He said this balance is important, paired with focus.
“You have to stay focused; you have to do all of the little things right, you've got to eat right, make sure you’re sleeping, you've got to get to class to get that work in,” Hatcher said. “And then just stay focused on and off the field.”
Lemonis said Hatcher is really talented, but it comes down to how hard players work and the attitude players have.
“It’s been nice because the game rewards someone who kept a good attitude,” Lemonis said.
Hatcher said the biggest thing they can do as a team is stay focused on the task at hand, and that includes midweek games against ULAR and Samford.
“We had a big weekend in Florida, but that’s behind us,” Hatcher said. “We want to ride that momentum, preparing for a big week so today we just want to go out there, do what we do best.”
Lemonis said he values the attitude Rowdy Jordan brings to the team, and he is confident Jordan will show improvement through this season.
“He (Jordan) works hard and shows up,” Lemonis said. “Great teammate, great attitude.”
Lemonis said he expects to see him get back into the zone, playing his best.
All in all, the MSU Bulldogs have seen adversity. The players, coaching staff and fans expect big things from this team. The Diamond Dawgs are putting in the hours and the commitment to bring home more wins.