LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Ending the regular season with a record of 35-13 and the Heartland Conference regular-season champions, the Lubbock Christian Baseball team has had a solid year.
"Coming into this year, we definitely knew we had a special team," Third baseman Braden Hayward said. "I mean, we got 15 seniors. We are kind of a vet group and we are just really excited. You know, this season we have played like it is our last and it's awesome. It's fun every day in the locker room and on the field."
The leadership and that bond that the Chaparrals told KCBD Sports about has been translating onto the field. Since March 14, the LCU baseball team has been on an impressive run, going 22-6 over that time span. With that run, the Chaparrals found themselves ranked No. 4 in the latest Perfect Game poll.
"I feel like our pitching is phenomenal right now, and our hitting has been great all year," senior first baseman James Hardberger said. "We have a bunch of defensive players."
Pitching, hitting and leadership has been a strength for the Chaparrals, this season. With all three of those, it sounds like a recipe for a deep run in the Heartland Conference and NCAA Division II Tournaments. But, the leadership of this team remembers last season, where the Chaparrals didn’t make the NCAA Tournament.
With them missing out on the postseason, it has made the Chaps humble and hungry for a deep run, this season. "It was the first year in program history that we didn't make a regional," Hayward said. "So, this year we have our mindset way beyond that. We don't want to talk to soon but, you know, we definitely have the team to compete with anybody in the country. So, we are looking forward to making a regional and seeing what is ahead."
For the immediate future of the Chaps, they are set for the Heartland Conference Tournament. The Chaps enter the tournament as the conference’s top-ranked offense scoring 366 runs while hitting .326 as a team. LCU also holds the Heartland’s top pitching staff allowing just 177 runs total and 148 earned runs. The Chaps staff ERA is just 3.43.
Lubbock Christian will start the tournament facing six-time defending champion St. Edwards who earned the conference’s No. 4 seed. After the Heartland Conference Tournament, the Chaps will wait for the NCAA Division II selection show on May 12. If they are selected, the Chaps will start the Road to Cary, North Carolina for the NCAA DII baseball championship.