SPRINGFIELD, Mo–“We’ve talked about being fighters. We have a lot of fight. We have a lot of grit. Whether that’s fighting with two strikes, whether that’s fighting when you are down four runs in the last nine outs or whether that is fighting when one of your teammates goes down and isn’t with the program any more, all those things you have to continue to fight. And if you fight ever pitch, you’ll be in a good spot,” said coach Scott Nasby.
“Sometimes you have to step up and make stuff happen. When he stepped out we knew we had to do everything we possibly could,” said junior Nic Perkins.
Losing Benes was not the first time these Panthers had to bounce back from adversity. Just a year ago, Drury had a tough 16-34 season. Now they are GLVC West Champions at 33-17.
“It was a big step. Especially from last year’s team. Going 16-34 and we almost flipped the record this year,” said Perkins.
“I think we have taken seven of our last eight in conference play to jump up into first seed on the west is pretty big for us. So it’s been a good year so far,” said senior Ryan Colombo.
But Drury doesn’t plan to stop at the regular season title.
“You win the conference tournament and you get an automatic qualifier into the regional so that’s obviously the long term goal is to get to that World Series but the first step we have to take after winning the GLVC West is winning the tournament this weekend,” said coach Nasby.
And for the team leader in batting average, senior Ryan Colombo, it is hard to not think about taking Drury to its first ever Division II College World Series in his final year.
“It would mean a lot. It would definitely be something special. A lot of great guys before us, and they said the same thing, if it is going to be done it is going to be done this year and it would mean a lot to me,” said Colombo.