BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Being the underdog has its perks. That's exactly the mentality that the Cal State Bakersfield baseball team is using this season.
As the team has made it their mission to prove people wrong especially within their newest conference the big west.
A new conference. Forced off the field due to COVID-19. And repping a city most people don't give credit to.
Those are just a few of the things the 'Runners baseball program has had to overcome during this already adverse season.
But none of it has dampened the confidence of a balanced mix of veteran and young players.
As the team sits above .500 at 5-3 in league play.
“We also love some turbulence to build off of and to get guys to see it as not an obstacle but more as a motivating factor and so anybody that doubts is something that actually inspires our guys to do a little bit better,” CSUB Baseball Head Coach Jeremy Beard said.
Not even being picked to finish last in the Big West Conference knocked them down as they know that the game of baseball is still the same.
“We all show up to field we all we all put our shoes on the same way so I feel like individually and as a team we match up well with anybody,” CSUB senior pitcher Aaron Charles said.
“We are all division one baseball players, and we can win, we just have to believe in it and I feel like if we get past the mental break of just the rankings and the Big West, you know, I feel like we can all win a lot of games this season,” redshirt sophomore outfielder Jacen Roberson said.
And that's just the confidence Coach Jeremy Beard expects from his guys.
“When you see a bunch of guys who love each other they care about each other they care about the program, you care about wearing Bakersfield across their chest and inspired by all those factors and when you have that, you know, it's just a special team to coach,” Beard said.
While not all players were born in Bakersfield, they all currently rep the city. For those who have always called the 661 home, it's a little more personal.
“We do play with a chip on our shoulder. I think that it's just kind of how we are as Bakersfield, we play in all these other big cities and Bakersifeld is just not really well known, so I feel like as a town that's just kind of how we are,” Charles said.
Local talent on the mound and at the plate have stepped up to prove those points. Including Garces Memorial grad Jacen Roberson who made some history this weekend becoming the first player to hit for cycle for the 'Runners program.
“The opportunity for it to happen to me, you know it’s something beyond luck like there's so much stuff that has to go right you know and I was just fortunate to be a part of it,” Roberson said.
As the team prepares for a series with Hawaii that begins on Friday, they will keep their focus on all that can continue going right.
“I feel like our pitching staffs heading in the right direction. We have a lot of depth this year and I think our hitting is the same, same thing so I think we're, We're in a good spot going into Hawaii,” CSUB junior pitcher Roman Angelo said.
No matter what is thrown their way.
“We're gonna have to make the adjustment, and it just gonna come down to, if we want to make the adjustment or not and of course we really want it, we have the hearts and we have the mind to do it, and I feel like since we really do want it we're gonna go do it,” Roberson said.