National Champs Gear Up For 2018 Season

California Lutheran University Baseball is here and ready to kick off their 2018 campaign.

The Kingsmen are coming off  a roller coaster of a 2017 season which saw them start the year with a .500 record  and struggle to find a consistent groove.  With strong team leadership led by a senior-heavy team, the Kingsmen were able to turn it around and finished the year with a 40-11 record and brought back home the team’s first ever NCAA Division III National Championship.

“This is a new year. Yes we are the defending National Champions, but that was last year. This year we have to make our own story, create our own savvy. What we’re saying is, we can’t just show on the field and expect to win,” said Cal Lutheran head coach Marty Slimak.

Coming into the 2018, season the Kingsmen look to get back to playing at the high level that they left off with last season after losing 10 seniors from that championship team.

“It is very exciting. It is also nice to see the older guys that are back. They want to work and want to be special again this season. So that makes it really easy to come to practice every day and have those long hours. They make it really easy and fun,” said freshman infielder Tanner Wright.

This team of young talent which includes eight freshman and ten sophomores looks to be poised and ready to take this season head-on and help to lead the team back the championship game.

“We just need to take it one game at time, knowing we aren’t going to win the National Championship within the first few weeks. I mean, our first goal before even getting to any postseason play is getting to the conference championship and winning that,” said senior infielder  Max Weinstein.

Weinstein will lead the returners on the team as the Kingmsen will look for him to continue his dominant play from last season where he started all 51 games at second base, while becoming the single-season leader in games played and set a new Cal Lutheran single-season record with 84 hits, which ranked him second in Division III.

The Kingsmen coming into this year look to build off a strong offseason, where they were able to develop some strong team chemistry.

“The team seems to be adapting well when it comes to new plays and new signs and stuff like that. The team chemistry is getting better as the days go on and guys get to know each other, so it’s going pretty well,” Weinstein said.

The team hopes to continuing this winning recipe they have been able to dish out over the years, which has led them heading into the 2018 season with a target on their back

“You have to put the work in. If you think you had a good year last year, then you have to have a better year this year. If you felt you worked hard last year, you have to work even harder this year and you put that in front of each guy,” Slimak said.

The Kingsmen started their season with a home opener on Feb. 2 against Linfield at 2 p.m.

Dillon Brown