Players to warm up in Sunshine State

Nick Roth, Staff Writer

The Pitt-Johnstown baseball players are to depart March 7 for their annual spring training trip to Florida.

Sophomore Matt McMillen said he’s excited for the trip.

“It’s nice to get away from Western Pennsylvania and play in a different atmosphere,” McMillen said.

The team is to ride 18 hours by charter bus until they arrive at the Lawnwood Sports Complex in Fort Pierce for a practice fresh off the bus.

Sophomore Nate Pope said the complex is nice.

“There are four Major League Baseball-sized fields, plus multiple pitching mounds and a practice infield,” he said.

Spring training gives the team a chance to gain an advantage as they prepare for the upcoming season, Pope said.

“It’s a business trip for us,” Pope said. “The heart of our season is upcoming and we need to be playing our best ball.”

McMillen and Pope, both said the competition should be tough.

“It’s nice to play different competition, rather than just playing teams from West Virginia and Pennsylvania,” McMillen said.

Pope said the trip should help guage the team’s abilities.

“It will be a test,” Pope said.

The Mountain Cats will take on teams from Florida, Connecticut and Indiana during the trip.

During last year’s trip, the team had a day off in Florida, but that’s not the case this year.

They are to play six games in six days.

Although they have a game daily, the players spend what free time they have together.

“We enjoy relaxing, but mostly we like to play video games,” McMillen said. “The team is full of competitors, and gaming gets pretty heated.”

Pope says he enjoys the food.

“Nothing is better than grabbing a burger and a milkshake from the nearby Steak N’ Shake,” Pope said.

The Mountain Cats upcoming schedule is busy.

They have six games in Florida, and, on the way back, they will stop at Fairmont State University to play two games over that weekend.

At noon Wednesday, the Mountain Cats will take on Bluefield State University at Johnstown’s home ballpark before they depart for spring training.