The Bradley baseball team concluded outdoor practices and scrimmages nearly a month ago, but the excitement is still high for the Braves. Head Coach Elvis Dominguez said the team was able to have two fully healthy squads scrimmage against each other in the fall, and that proved to be beneficial in many ways.
“It went very, very well,” Dominguez said. “In years past, we’ve had guys coming back from injuries or surgery, and for the first time, it was really very competitive. We have a tremendous amount of depth.”
Dominguez emphasized the competitive nature of the fall scrimmages, noting that they now have two to three guys at a position where they used to only have one.
“The competition part of it really made guys better,” Dominguez said.
They will look to fill holes at first base and designated hitter during the winter, but they have a lot to look forward to. All-Americans Spencer Gaa, Tyler Leffler and Chris Godinez are returning this year, along with a fully healthy arsenal of pitchers.
“I’m very, very excited,” Dominguez said. “My expectation is to win the Missouri Valley Conference. It’s something we haven’t done since 1968, and I feel very encouraged by this group. Our goal should be nothing less than that.”
The Bradley softball team tasted success last year in the Missouri Valley Conference, and they intend to experience similar results this season.
“I think this group expects to repeat,” head coach Amy Hayes said. “I think we won’t worry a lot about what other people think of us or where other people place us. We just have our eye on the prize, and we’re working hard towards that.”
The women concluded their work in the fall nearly a month ago as they played a total of seven games. Hayes was happy with the way the team performed.
“I think we learned some things about ourselves,” Hayes said. “We’re a pretty balanced team right now with a good number of seniors and good number of freshmen. It was just about seeing how the group came together.”
Hayes said that this group is a bit different from last year’s team that advanced deep into the NCAA tournament.
“Last year’s team and senior class were very emotional, which was in a sense good because there was that never die feel,” Hayes said. “This year’s team has more of a blue collar sense; get down to business, get to work. That’s where their confidence comes from, and that’s really showed in how well we played.”