After tough start, Vittorio preaches toughness

By: Jimmy Gang – Staff Writer

For the Dayton Flyers baseball team, toughness is a standard that must be met. This season, the Flyers began with only one win, starting 1-5 in non conference play. The only win came in the first game of a three game Morehead State University series Feb. 22 in Cartersville, Georgia.

Since the string of losses, something has definitely clicked in the Flyers dugout.

“Coming off the first weekend I don’t think we were very tough,” head coach Tony Vittorio said. “Obviously we’ve worked on that through our preparation and through our team and we played a lot tougher mentally last weekend.”

Last weekend, the Flyers took on the Murray State University Racers in a three game series. The Racers jumped out to an 8-0 lead before the Flyers finally got on the board in the 9th inning with a two-run double to left center by redshirt sophomore third baseman Cale Dineen that scored redshirt senior base runners Alex Harris and Zach Schira. Something in those last two runs sparked some juice, because the next two days consisted of the first back-to-back victories of the season.

“The first day we came out really flat, and came out and got beat in a way that we didn’t want to get beat,” Schira, a senior leader who is third on the team in runs, said. “The next two days we came out with a different energy, different tone, and approached the day differently I think, so when we come out with that energy that’s the difference between winning games and losing games.”

The Flyers may have looked better in the final two games of the Murray State series, but in many respects, they weren’t different at all.

“We can’t lose focus at this point,” junior pitcher Charlie Dant said. “We’ve had a couple big weekends in a row on the mound so I’d say we’ve just got to stay focused and keep getting our work in and keep up what we’re doing on the mound, and we should be alright.”

The message of not losing focus and retaining resilience is a constant theme throughout the dugout this season.

“Baseball’s one of those games where you don’t freak out and change things after a couple bad games,” said Schira “It’s a long season and 10 or 20 at bats aren’t the end of the world, so I think coming up we just have to keep doing what we’re doing at the plate and grind it out and grind through it, the more you see it the more it starts to come together.”

Moving forward, the Flyers start Atlantic 10 Conference play with UMass coming to town March 20.  The Flyers seem to be improving their toughness in all phases of the game at just the right time.

“We moved the ball around a little bit better offensively, and we pitched well and played better defense,” Coach Vittorio said. “So hopefully we can get into some type of consistent flow here with the weather and those types of things and get out and continue to get better and play better each time out.”

Weather has been an issue for the Flyers this season as well, with games against Bowling Green State University and Miami University being called off due to in climate weather.

With a home game against Northern Kentucky University March 10 before a tough series against Ball State University in the Flyer Classic March 13-15, UD sits at 5-7.