Each year, the Anderson baseball team wraps up their fall ball season with the Orange and Black Series. The tradition is a favorite amongst coaches, players and AU students alike.
In year’s past, a captain was appointed to “Team Orange” and a captain to “Team Black.” The captains would alternate picks, each drafting a team comprised of one-half of the baseball roster.
Under new Head Coach Mathew Bair, the series was held under a slightly different format this year. The entire program met at Coach Jim Hazen’s house for a cookout and to draft. Both teams had three senior captains. Team Orange was led by Jake Morgan, Seth Eldridge and Wyatt Schebler; Team Black—Nick Butcher, John Becker and Casey Howell.
A short game of cornhole was played to determine which team would have the first pick. Team Orange had the first pick and selected Adam Paschal. From that point on, each team selected 10 players, three pitchers, three infielders, two outfielders, one catcher and one two-way player. The remaining players were divided evenly onto the two teams by the coaching staff. A three-game series then ensued.
After Team Black took the first game of the series, Team Orange responded with back-to-back wins to take home the series victory.
“Orange team brought energy to the field every day,” explained captain Jake Morgan. “We competed every pitch, which was awesome to see from the younger guys.
“Even with some guys playing positions they’ve never played, they competed with confidence.”
Each year, the losing team has to face some sort of comeuppance. This season, Team Black will have to serve Team Orange a steak dinner at their end-of-fall cookout.
While little more than bragging rights and a steak dinner are on the line, the experience that comes from the series is invaluable to the team.
“Not only does this series allow us to get to know each other early in the year,” said Morgan, “but it allows us to gain trust in each other as teammates.
“As a senior, it is fun to get closer to the freshman, make jokes with them and create a relationship. Accepting them into the program is a huge part of our success come spring.”
Coming off of an injury-riddled 2017 season, there is much anticipation surrounding this team. With another year of experience for many of the young players and a new coaching staff at the helm, Butcher can’t wait for the season to begin.
“I’ve never been around a coaching staff that truly cares about their players like this one,” explained Butcher. “We have eight coaches and each one of them is there every day to help us improve. That’s pretty unheard of at the Division III level.”