by Christian Ulrich January 24, 2023
On February 3, 2023, the Cal Poly Pomona baseball team will take on the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs for opening night, a night the Broncos hope will be the start of an historic run.
The Broncos, who fell short after a 35-19 record in the NCAA Division II West Regional, believe this year will be different. This year they have the experience and all the necessary parts that make a successful baseball club.
“We’re going to win this year – I have no doubt about that,” said catcher Jacob Lopez. “No matter what happens through turbulence and whatever the year throws at us, I really believe we’re going to win this thing.”
Jenzen Torres, a sophomore assistant head coach, knows what it takes to lead a team deep into the playoffs, having been on the teams that won the NCAA West Region Championship in 2015 and 2016.
“The environment that freshmen enter is so different from high school baseball that every aspect of the game is going to be faster than they’re used to,” Torres said. “Keeping calm, trusting the process, and staying positive will help assimilate them into this next stage of the competition.”
The nine newcomers to this spring’s list are entering an environment that is challenging yet tailored to them, an atmosphere where they can thrive with hard work and perseverance.
Lopez spoke fondly to the team about his experiences over the past year.
“Last year was my freshman year and it was great to be part of a team that was inclusive from top to bottom with people who were in graduate programs and made the effort to come and talk to me” said Lopez.
Lopez mentioned that the team tries to come together after class and off the field as much as possible. Lopez insisted those relationships are critical to the team’s chemistry and culture.
Torres believes the team’s struggles early last year will help propel them to greater heights this season.
“Our coaching staff and players understood that we didn’t necessarily play bad baseball early last year,” Torres said. “All we had to do was streamline some things, stick with it, and keep playing our brand of baseball, and success will come,” Torres said.
Torres added that the coaching staff sat down and thought about what they could do better to get the results they wanted. From that point, the team grew closer and began to hold themselves accountable, Torres said.
One thing the Broncos have this season is experience. Catcher Johnny Pappas is no stranger to leading his team over a long season.
“I care about every single one of these guys and I want everyone to feel like I care about them,” Pappas said. “Last year I had Ryon Knowles and Cesar Lopez – people who have been here for years – and they helped me understand what it means to be a leader, helped me this year to have people like Jacob Lopez and Tyler Chaffee under my wing to take and be the guy for her.”
Pappas added that the team wants to hit the ground running, win the regular season and get through the playoffs. He thinks they have a good chance of doing just that this year.
Pappas and the Broncos have just one game circled on their calendar: opening night against the Mountain Lions.
On February 3 at 5 p.m. at Scolinos Field, the Broncos’ journey to eternal glory begins once again. Visit the Bronco Athletics website for more information.
Cover image courtesy of CPP Athletics