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Baseball getting into the swing of things

By Colton Herrick and Denise Kassis
On February 22, 2016

The Kirkwood Community College Eagles baseball team is looking to improve their record as they prepare for the start of this season. The team finished 2015 with a record of 32-22, dropping their final two games of the season in the conference tournament. 

In response to the finish of last season Todd Rima said, “You want to win your last game and if you don’t win your last game then that means you didn’t finish where you wanted to finish. Our tournament last year is something we want to forget but you don’t forget until you go and do something better and that’s what we’re mentally and physically preparing for.”

Rima added, “When we started out I thought we had a good team, by the end of the season I thought we had a really good team. That’s a testament to these guys committing and putting in the work to get better every day.”

Kirkwood baseball participates in two seasons each year, one in the fall and one in the spring. The Eagles will begin their season Feb. 26 against Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kan.

The spring season is the main season for the Eagles and they’ll be returning a solid group of sophomores, according to Rima. Jack Fitzgerald and Nick Drahozal are two returnees who have already signed their Division I National Letter of Intent to continue their playing careers. Next year Fitzgerald will be attending Houston Baptist University in Texas and Drahozal will be attending the University of Nebraska-Omaha. 

Drahozal returns as the #1 pitcher in the Eagles rotation and will be joined by sophomores Dariel Checo, Austin Clemens, Brock Neuhaus and Ethan Howard.

A key to the Eagles season will be the depth and experience in their roster and their pitching staff, said Rima. “This team has a chance to be the best team we’ve had and I really believe that, we have to go out and make things happen and play every day. This team can do special things,” said Rima. 

Rima is in his fourth season as the Eagles head coach and he is assisted by coaches Ron Benich, Chuck Lukanen and Gordy Nordgren. 

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