It’s almost that time again: playoff season. As the regular baseball season winds down, the G-Men baseball team prepares to enter the stretch that determines who will advance, or who will stay home.
As of right now, Grambling is on the borderline of staying home and advancing to the playoffs.
“Our backs are against the wall,” said Head Coach James Randall. “We have to fight our way out.”
The team played Alcorn on Tuesday in which they lost 14 – 12. Alcorn took a commanding lead in the early innings, only to allow Grambling to get close. In the ninth inning, Alcorn closed the game, even though they were held scoreless for three innings.
The baseball team currently has a losing season with a record of 10-24. The G-Men are 6 – 10 at home and 3 – 13 on the road. They are 4 – 10 in conference play.
While the fan support has grown over the past years, the fans continue to become frustrated. “We’ve let them (fans) down at times when we haven’t played well,” Randall said. “We’re trying to win them back.”
A lot of the frustration has also come from the officiating of the matches as well. Fans have continued to heckle the umpires for bad calls, but Randall knows better.
“Officials are humans too; they make mistakes just like everyone else,” he said. “We’ve had questionable calls at home, but that?s a part of the game. We can’t let that affect us when we play.”
However, the team has also shown their frustration when bad calls are made. Normally, this is when errors come into play.
“We’re a young team, and it has really taken a toll on us at times,” Randall said. “Hopefully, we can learn from that.”
The fans are also learning to deal with patience.
“I feel that Gram has a great baseball team; they just need a little more work,” said Krystal Smith of DeSoto, Texas.
Randall has already seen the “little more work” add up.
“We’re a young ball club,” he said, “and we’re growing. We’re getting better, and we played better tonight.”
Randall also wants the fan to continue to support the team through its hard times. “I just want the Grambling fans to keep supporting us,” he said.
“I just want them to stay with us and believe in us.”
As the season winds down, the players are very optimistic about reaching the playoffs.
“We have a good chance to be in the playoffs, because we’re going to have that momentum to win,” said Sontus Mitchell, a pitcher. “We’re going to do well. I believe that.”
“We’re just starting to put everything together as far as our pitching and our defense,” said third baseman Courtney Jones, who only had one error. “I think that the more we work together, the better we are off.”
This weekend, Grambling will be facing Prairie View, a team that swept Grambling at home in the last series. Prairie View has a current record of 24 – 19. This will be a tough test for the G-Men.
“They have a good ball club,” Randall said. “We have to take care of them for us to have a good chance [to make the playoffs].”
In the SWAC Western division, Prairie View is behind a phenomenal Texas Southern team, a squad that has created consistent players of the week. GSU is currently in last place, but that can change come Friday. Randall and his team are ready.
“They are going to come in hungry, but we are hungry too.”