Welcome to Dirtbags Baseball blog! I was introduced to Long Beach State baseball in 2002 when my nephew, Neil Jamison, joined the team (and university) as a freshman. I started the blog in March of 2004, and generally discuss the team, current players and those that have moved on to professional baseball - as Neil has done in the San Diego Padres organization. Living in San Diego County, and with Neil moving to the next level, I won't be attending as many Dirtbags games. But, mostly from a distance, I'll remain a Dirtbags fan. I welcome tips on stories and information concerning the Dirtbags (current, past and future). I can be contacted at email@example.com.
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Long Beach State outfielder Sean Boatright has seen his role as a leader increase this season, thanks to the exit of several key players from last year's club.
It's a challenge that he has welcomed with open arms during the first two weeks of the season.
Boatright got his 2006 campaign started on the right foot in week one, as he lead the Dirtbags back to beat Southern California in three straight contests.
For the year, Boatright is hitting .308 with two homers and 7 RBI in 26 at bats.
While the Dirtbags hit the ball well in their opening series with the Trojans, they have cooled off in their last three games against California and Pepperdine.
The Dirtbags' competition doesn't get any easier this weekend, as they hit the road to compete in the Coca-Cola Classic in Houston. Among others, Coach Mike Weathers' club will face top-ranked Rice and an Oklahoma team that hopes to continue their winning ways.
The Beach is expected to throw staff ace Jared Hughes in their first game against Lamar, while opting to send Andrew Carpenter to the hill to face the top-ranked Owls. The Dirtbags will wrap up the tournament with Oklahoma, where they are expected to throw Vance Worley.
We talked to one of Long Beach State's key players about this weekend, the season to-date and beyond.
After two weekends of play, what are your thoughts on the team heading into the tournament at Rice?
Sean Boatright: The first weekend of our season was outstanding, as we played flawless baseball for the most part against Southern California. But in our series with California and single game against Pepperdine, the offense took a step back. We just need to go out there and turn it up a notch offensively. Our situational hitting must also improve to be successful. Overall, we have a few things that are worth worrying about right now, but overall, we know we can do it as a team, and are committed to doing just that.
Talk about your role on the team and how it has increased with the departure of a few players from last year's squad?
SB: One thing I set out to do this spring is to become a more influential leader to the other players on the team. I really enjoy having that role and it is something that I take great pride in. I think that knowing the system here is very important to being a leader and it's also critical to keep everyone on the same regiment during each week of the season. Overall, it's nice being a guy that a lot of younger players on the team ask questions to.
Long Beach State has long been known for their tremendous pitching. What are your thoughts on the weekend rotation and staff thus far?
SB: I thought they did an outstanding job of keeping us in the series against California. It was mainly our hitting that let us down in that three-game set. If the weekend starters go out there and throw like they are capable and we as an offense do what we are supposed to do, the future of this club should be very bright. Overall, I see our weekend rotation and pitching staff as one that doesn't make too many mistakes. That's not a bad attribute to have as a pitching staff.
What is the most impressive attribute of this year's team?
SB: The unity of this club is simply amazing. I've never seen a team this close together, but what might be most impressive is the fact that everyone is doing their part to bring more success to the program. During the past few seasons, we have relied on individuals to get things done. This year's club is not like that, as each player on the team is looking to take on an important role. It's definitely something that makes us feel good inside.
You have talked a lot about the offense. Is that a particular area that should be a cause for concern after the last three games?
SB: At this point, I really don't think so. It is all about us going out there and playing our game on a consistent basis. We showed against Southern California that we can hit the baseball, so we just need to go out there and do it. Personally, I think it all boils down to doing the little things right. If we do that, we will be fine this weekend and beyond. My advice for the guys this weekend is to have fun and do the little things right.