SEATTLE – The sun gods were on the Huskies’ side when the UW Baseball team was greeted with cloudless, blue skies and mild temperatures as they took the field for the first time as a full squad on Friday.
“You can’t beat this,” third-year sophomore Branden Berry remarked before taking early batting practice. “This is the best you can ask for, and we’re very thankful and very blessed to have this opportunity.”
The Huskies – and the rest of the nation, for that matter – kicked off their season with all 35 players gathered at Husky Ballpark for the first time. With construction taking place all around them, the playing field is one of the few places that the team can roam freely inside the facility. The players still had to move aside some construction cones down the baselines, but besides that, it was baseball as usual.
It was hard for the players to contain their excitement as they hit the field. With a fresh slate, a beautiful new stadium rising around them and perfect weather, Berry summed up the team’s feelings perfectly.
“It’s the beginning,” Berry, who sat out all of last season with an arm injury, said. “It’s what we’ve all been working hard through the winter and fall for. We get to come out, do our thing, and have fun. This is the beginning of what we all came here for.
“There are a lot of guys on this team who got recruited by Coach Meggs for this stadium, for this whole new era. It’s the birth and we just get to go out and play the game that we love.”
The Huskies open up in three weeks at the Texas State Tournament in San Marcos, Texas. They will face Air Force in the first game of a double header, followed by a night cap against Michigan.
Washington will play five games in Tacoma at Cheney Stadium – four vs. UC Davis (Feb. 28-March 2) and one against Portland (March 18) – before opening up the new ballpark on March 21 against Arizona.