“Midnight Madness” kicks off Bears’ Baseball’s 2014 season Friday morning
’13 Region I Semifinalists to become first NJCAA team to open baseball season at 12:01AM Friday
Phoenix, Arizona – January 27, 2014 -- Phoenix College is proud to announce that the Bears’ Baseball team will officially open their 2014 regular season schedule this Friday, January 31st, as they host 2013 ACCAC Regular Season Champion Central Arizona College at Marich Field. The two teams will actually play two games against each other, but the games’ first pitches will be separated by 18 hours, with the first game commencing exactly one minute after teams are allowed to start their seasons at 12:01AM early Friday morning, and the second game starting at 6PM Friday night.
NJCAA Sports Procedures define the first available ‘game date’ for baseball teams across the country to play as the ‘last Friday in January’, which this year falls on January 31st. So, to give his student-athletes a novel and historic way to begin his 55-game regular season schedule, Bears’ Head Baseball Coach Kevin Kimball decided to schedule (in agreement with CAC Head Baseball Coach Jon Wente) his regular season opener one minute after the first possible time he could throw out the first pitch. The game will be the first NJCAA Baseball regular season game to be played across the country in 2014.
For the Bears, expectations for the team are much higher than they were at this time last year. Kimball took a young but moldable 2013 squad that sported just 10 sophomores and helped them improve throughout the season, catching fire at the right time. The Bears began the final month of the season winning four of their first five games, then doubled that with a season-long five-game winning streak in mid-April. With that said, they still entered the final two games of the regular season knowing that without a sweep of the Paradise Valley Pumas, the Bears would likely miss the Region I Division II Playoffs for the fifth straight season. The Bears came from behind in both games-including getting a dramatic 10-inning 4-3 win in the regular season finale-to leapfrog both the Pumas and Chandler-Gilbert for their first Region I Semifinals’ berth since 2008. Once there, PC won Game 1 of the Best-of-3 series with Gateway before succumbing to the Geckos in Games 2 & 3. The Bears will bring a lot of that playoff experience back for 2014 as 17 sophomores dot the 30-man roster, including 2nd Team All-Region I pitcher Brandon Hudson, who led the Bears’ starting pitchers with a 1.92 earned run average and logged more innings than anyone on the Bears’ staff in 2013; outfielder Adam Bloom, who was the team’s 2nd-best hitter in 2013 with a .378 batting average; and 2013 Gold Glove-nominated 2nd baseman Hector Ortiz.
The Bears are seeking their first back-to-back Region I Playoff berths since 2001/2002 as they kick things off just after midnight Friday. The game will actually kick off a season-opening 11-game homestand, and will be the first of five games the Bears will play during the season-opening weekend. After Friday’s single games against 6th-ranked Central Arizona, PC will host the College of Southern Idaho in a doubleheader at 5PM Saturday evening, then wind up the weekend with a single game against Central Arizona at 11AM Sunday morning. All games will be held at Marich Field on the Phoenix College campus (1202 West Thomas Road in Phoenix), and admission prices are as follows: $5 for adults; $3 for students with a valid ID; and kids 12 and under get in FREE.