When finals end and school is over, summer doesn’t quite start for these athletes. For sports like baseball, their regular season playing continues through the end of the year; for sports like golf and tennis, their postseason can continue through the summer.
Micah Pries, a junior business finance major and outfielder for the Sea Lions, says that PLNU puts all the baseball players into the Flex apartments after school is over so all of them are together in the same housing.
“[PLNU] actually accommodates us really well and we get good housing,” Pries says. “We get a kitchen. We get everything we need.”
And even though the games are emptier because most of the student fans leaving San Diego for the summer, the boys are able to give more attention to baseball without the stresses of school, according to Pries. The practices are pretty much “business as usual” says Pries, but they practice earlier in the day, allowing more rest; without school, there’s more time to put toward baseball.
“We all give our complete focus and energy for that practice one day or game one day because we don’t have to worry about school and other stuff,” Pries says.
Travis Takata, a redshirt junior and applied health science major, says not having school allows him to focus solely on baseball. He says that this is the best time of the year because it’s fun to have all of the boys in Flex and play the sport they all love.
“I think it’s a really good opportunity for us to bond,” Takata says. “We have practice in the mornings and our afternoons are pretty free so we just hang out and eat together.”
Similarly to being on the road, the boys will receive meal money to help with the costs of food while they are on campus, says Takata. And with postseason practices coming up, Takata says he’s excited to see how James will conduct practice differently from the previous baseball coach.
This summer postseason play is not new for masters student and catcher for the PLNU baseball team, Michael Palos, who played baseball at UC San Diego before coming to PLNU to work toward a masters in kinesiology. Palos says that in the postseason, they get to participate in the lifting session, practices and games without the heavy loads of schoolwork, which is similar to the schedules of professional baseball players.
But without many students on campus, there is a decrease in attendance at the home baseball games that fall after finals week.
“We like having everyone at the games,” Palos says. “And when they’re gone, there’s usually not a lot of people around campus.”
Tennis coach, Curt Wheeler used to play tennis as a Sea Lion before he started coaching both the men’s and women’s tennis teams at PLNU. He says playing in the postseason is a lot different from coaching in the postseason.
“Coaching in the postseason is exciting, but with a lot more to do versus playing in the postseason,” Wheeler says. “It is all worth it to see the excitement and joy it brings the players I coach.”
Similarly to the baseball team, Wheeler says practices pretty much stay the same, but he wants to maximize rest in order to get the players ready for the tough play that happens in the postseason.
Alli Kim, a redshirt sophomore golfer, and an applied health science major transferred in from a Division 1 school and says that she knew that there was a possibility of having postseason play go into the summer. The women’s golf team played in the PacWest championships from Apr. 22–24 and after a great season so far, with Kim winning four tournaments, she says she just wants to keep playing with her team.
“It feels good to keep playing,” Kim says. “I’m hoping the team does well [in the PacWest Championship] so we can all go to postseason together.”