Dallas, Tx - Winter in Texas means.... baseball! The boys of spring are back in action and in full swing. After suffering a loss to start the season to Southwest Assemblies of God University the last week of January the Crusaders were able to bounce back the first weekend in February going 2-2 in their first Round-Robin Tournament of the season. After dropping a close game with Hannibal-Lagrange (Mo) to start the action off on Friday the team rebounded in the evening contest against NCAA D2 Eastern New Mexico winning 3-2. In the victory the Crusaders threw a combined no-hitter with freshman Casey Morrow picking up the win. Saturday produced another split. After falling to conference foe Ecclesia College (Ar) 1-12 in the morning match the Crusaders rebounded against Hannibal-Lagrange knocking off the Trojans 10-8 behind a hot bat 8 run inning.
While a split in the action isn't the goal the results against EMNU and Hannibal-Lagrange should leave Crusader fans everywhere excited for the 2019 season. This version of DCC baseball is led by seniors Gabe Benza and Cameron Henderson. Gabe is in his fourth year with the program and has been a three-year letter winner. He has been valuable all over the field both as a position player and as a pitcher. The other senior is Cameron Henderson. Henderson has started in centerfield both this season and last and has typically hit third in the lineup. The team will look to both seniors to continue to provide value to the program both as leaders and as players.
"Both Gabe and Cameron embody what we want in our players. Both show up and work incredibly hard every day and we expect to see leadership from them throughout the season," said 10th year Head Coach Denny Dixon.
While Benza and Henderson do provide leadership and experience this team will mostly be seen as a young and hungry team. With only three juniors on the squad the rest of the squad is made up of freshmen and sophomores and bring a look of hunger and enthusiasm to the team.
"We are young and lack experience in certain areas, but this group of guys want to be good. They come to practice every day and get the repititions that they need in order to be good. Our goal for the season is to be playing our best baseball once the conference season starts and progress into the region tournament in May," Coach Dixon commented.
That conference, the Victory Athletic Baseball Conference, is comprised of five schools from Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas. In 2017 the Crusaders were able to come away as champions. Last season the team struggled out of the gate and into the conference schedule. That slow start left the team a handful of games back in the standings. The goal for this team is simple.
"We're out to win our conference, earn a high seed at the regional tournament and hopefully make a trip to South Carolina in May," said freshman pitcher Colin Patten.
The Crusaders will be back in action this upcoming weekend in the second of three round-robin action tournaments on campus. Eastern New Mexico will be the first opponent on Friday February, 8 at 9:30 am.