There’s no place like home, and the UNF baseball team is hoping that proves to be the difference in the ASUN Tournament.
Four teams remain, including the host Ospreys, who face Kennesaw State Thursday in the afternoon game around 3 p.m at Harmon Stadium.
UNF had a solid year, finishing second in the division and they are the highest-seeded Florida team remaining in the tournament. The winner of the tourney gets an automatic bid to the NCAAs. UNF, like every team, went through a lot this year with the pandemic, and I asked head coach Tim Parenton if there were some lessons that he learned this year that he’ll apply to his coaching in the future.
“I really don’t think I’ll carry anything on,” Parenton said. “This has been one of the hardest years. I’ve been in 30 years now. And it’s really been hard, every week to test twice. To sit on pins and needles. Like this morning, we were sitting on pins and needles till 1110. It was 1115. Our trainer finally got back to me today. And usually, it’s an honor 10 o’clock ball. But our team has been very good. They’ve been diligent. We haven’t had any positives to hold us back this entire spring season. And if all we had some, but it’s just been hard, especially with school ending five weeks ago for us. We’ve been here without classes. We’ve been here just as baseball and you can’t practice him. You can’t do as much as you want, because of the NCAA rules, but it’s really been hard.”
That’s not to say that some good things haven’t come out of the experience. Half a dozen seniors got to play another year of college baseball. Many of which already have jobs waiting for them once the season ends. And having a common struggle has helped the team become a tighter-knit unit.
“They’ve come together,” Parenton said. “They’re bonded a little more maybe because of all the rules and all the stuff that they had to do, but it was really a hard year.”
As for playing at home, it’s definitely an advantage for the Ospreys.
“Our guys get to use the locker and get to use everything here,” Parenton said. “We can’t use the cage in a facility after tomorrow once the tournament starts until it’s our time, but just to be able to go in their locker room and lay around and do the right things. It is an advantage.”