After nearly two years of a perpetual ‘Groundhog Day’, the Prairie Baseball Academy is once again hitting the road to begin their 2022 spring season.
This year’s edition of the PBA is very young with a majority of the roster being made up of freshman. However, PBA Head Coach Todd Hubka believes this year’s team has a chance to be very special.
“We have a deep pitching staff. We’ll have some real quality starters but we also have some back-end guys that are going to be able to eat up a lot of innings. We’re really young in every position, that’ll be interesting but I also think that is a strength. I think we got a lot of talented kids here, if we build on that we’ll be playing for a championship in May.”
The Prairie Dawgs will make their way to Las Vegas to play exhibition games against the College of Southern Nevada and Colorado Northwestern CC. The annual trip to Vegas is normally a staple of the Varsity team’s schedule, but this will be the first trip to Vegas for PBA since February 2020, just a month before the COVID-19 pandemic gripped the world.
Coach Hubka says he is looking forward to the program getting back to normalcy and rebuilding a winning culture after two years.
“I feel like we’ve lost some of our culture because of what has happened in the last two years. We just moved into our locker room for the first time in two years, we haven’t allowed kids to come in here. We need to find that team bond and become a family.”
One of the teams the PBA will face in the desert is the College of Southern Nevada Coyotes (CSN). CSN is consistently in the top 25 of the NJCAA rankings and provides stiff competition for PBA right off the bat. Coach Hubka says it is always a good experience for the PBA early on in the season.
“They’re a very very good team. They’re always ranked in the top 25. It’s a humbling experience to go play them and to learn what we need to work on. It’s always exciting. You get to see some quality arms and some very good baseball.”
For many players on this year’s roster, it will be their first taste of spring college baseball. Colby Snider is a freshmen pitcher who will be making the trip to Las Vegas. Snider made the fall trip to Kelowna when PBA played in a fall tournament against other CCBC teams. Snider says he enjoyed the fall tournament and is excited for the spring season ahead.
“Our first real competition against college baseball teams was in the fall in Kelowna. It was probably the most fun I’ve had playing baseball. It felt unfamiliar since I haven’t done it in so long. I think it’s going to be a great experience in Vegas to get out there and play baseball again.”
Snider says the message from the coaching staff has been to be ready to hit the ground running in Vegas.
“The message has been to be ready to go. We haven’t played ball in so long. We have to learn to settle our nerves and just be ready to take care of the baseball, throw strike one and have a good approach in all aspects of the game.”
The PBA will open their season on Saturday, February 19th at Morse Stadium in Henderson, Nevada against the CSN Coyotes. Keep your eyes tuned into the PBA social media feeds and we will announce results of games and if any games are being livestreamed.
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