Conditions delay official start of practice

BEAUMONT – Inclement weather and baseball are hardly strangers to each other during the season, but it was an unusual sort on Friday as frigid temperatures and icy conditions caused a minor delay to the start of official practice season for Jim Gilligan and his Lamar baseball team. The Cardinals will now begin full preparations for the 2014 season on Saturday at noon.

“It’s almost hard to believe that we’ll be able to play an intrasquadtomorrow after being holed up in the cabin all day today, but that’s what the weather says,” Gilligan said. “We’ll have one scrimmage on Saturdayand another on Sunday, and I’m really excited to get things going again.”

After losing a number of veterans off of last season’s team, the Cards will feature a number of new faces all over the field this season, but it’s not something that Gilligan is too worried about.

“These new kids might not have much experience, but they are very talented,” explained the 37th-year skipper. “I think they’ll be fine, especially judging from the way that they carried themselves and went about their business while playing fall games at Texas and Rice. I’m looking forward to watching them play some more.”

A former Lamar pitcher himself, Gilligan is most looking forward to finding the ideal combination on the mound following the departures of all-time innings leader Eric Harrington and all-time strikeout leader Jonathan Dziedzic at the conclusion of last season.

“I think it’s all going to boil down to pitching,” revealed Gilligan. “We should be fantastic defensively, and I think we’ll do very well at the plate as well, especially with guys like Jude Vidrine and Sam Bumpers back. I expect Reed Seeley and Jacoby Middleton to have an immediate impact as well. However, the most important thing about this first month will be finding the right ingredients on the mound.”

Both this weekend’s practices are scheduled to begin at noon with the intrasquad games following at 1 p.m. During the week, practices are scheduled to run from 2-5 p.m. at Vincent-Beck Stadium.

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