Strong work highlights opening day of baseball practice for Demons

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NATCHITOCHES – Groundhog Day does not come for another eight days, but it arrived – in a sense – for the Northwestern State baseball team Friday.

The Demons held their first full-squad workout of the spring, three weeks ahead of the Feb. 15 season opener at Houston. Northwestern State opened its preseason preparation with an eight-inning intrasquad scrimmage on a cloudless day at Brown-Stroud Field.

The workout came after a couple of weeks of individual workouts that began when the team reported back to campus for the Jan. 14 start of the spring semester.

“We try so hard to make it be Groundhog Day,” third-year head coach Bobby Barbier said with a laugh. “We try so hard make the work from the first two weeks of school carry over, because that’s how the season goes. You have to be a consistent team, and you can’t be a consistent team without having consistent practice.”

Eight pitchers worked two innings apiece, tossing about 30 pitches each. Senior outfielder J.P. Lagreco connected on a home run late in the scrimmage, highlighting a good day of work from the Demons’ hitters.

“Our at-bats were further along than I thought we would be,” Barbier said. “They were mature at-bats. That’s something this team can have. We have some mature hitters, some mature guys on the mound. Today was a product of them being mature and taking care of their business outside of this week in their individual work.”

Maturity should not be an issue with a roster stacked with 14 seniors. That, coupled with a strong finish that carried Northwestern State to its first Southland Conference Tournament title in May, isn’t a guarantee for success in 2019.

“Just because you’re old doesn’t mean you’re good,” Barbier said. “It almost can go the opposite for you sometimes. Older guys who have done a lot, they forget what it took to get them here – the work it took to get to that point. This group has done a good job of that and sticking to the work. That’s what we talk about, the work is what matters.”

The Demons return to practice at 11 a.m. Saturday before their second intrasquad scrimmage of the spring early Saturday afternoon.

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