Will this be the end?

This weekend is obviously about trying to win the regional, keep the season going and eventually reach the College World Series.

But it could be the end for several Tech seniors, and a few juniors who may leave if they are selected high enough in Monday’s draft.

Notably, it could be the last game for senior first baseman Tony Plagman. He came in as a preferred walk-on, and could leave as the greatest home-run hitter in Tech’s storied history. It could also be the last game for seniors Jay Dantzler, Sean Devine, Jason Garofalo, Patrick Long and Andrew Robinson, not to mention Deck McGuire, who will likely be a top-10 pick on Monday.

Dantzler and Devine redshirted the last time Tech made it to Omaha. This time, they want to go back and play.

“It’s one thing we are keeping mind, these last two or three games could be the end of our season,” Dantzler said. “This could be the last time we play together as a team. The last time most of these guys could play college baseball. That’s one of the things we are keeping in our head. It keeps us focused.”

Plagman, who was named a third-team Louisville Slugger All-American on Thursday, needs just five more round-trippers to reach 58 and pass Jason Varitek as the school’s most prolific slugger. He hasn’t talked about the record. Like the others, it’s about wins.

“It’s tough to think about,” Plagman said. “It’s bleen a long four years for me and  a long five for Jay.

“We have a great opportunity and I think we are going to take advantage of it.”

—-

Here are some quotes from interviews I conducted during the week that weren’t used in stories, as well as some quotes from Thursday’s press conferences, courtesy of Tech’s sports information department:

Danny Hall

Opening statement: “I am just excited to be in a regional and to get a chance to host and to know if we keep winning we get a chance to play at home again. It says a lot about our team and what they accomplished this season.”

On Friday starter Mark Pope: “He pitched against Mercer down there. He really pitched well except for one inning that had a couple of errors in it. Our goal is to win three games in this tournament. So you try to line your pitching up with what is going to give you your best shot to advance. He is our most rested guy because he did not pitch in the ACC tournament so it was his time to pitch.”

On his pitchers: “I think we have a solid staff, top to bottom, and we have some different pieces we can use in games to try and get outs.”

Deck McGuire

On playing at home: “Any time you play at home it’s an advantage. Our fans have always done a great job supporting us here in the postseason. I look forward to it once again this year.”

On learning from last year: “I think we’re on the right track. I think we did a good job of not taking any games for granted and not looking past anybody. I think this year, heading into this regional, it’s one game at a time. Friday night is all we’re worried about right now.”

Derek Dietrich

On learning from last year: “You have to go out and play hard every day and know that anything can happen. You might not be playing your best baseball, but you have to go out there and grind every at-bat and every pitch.”

Tony Plagman

On learning from last year: “From last two regionals we know we have to come out and play hard and that anything can happen. We need to play as a team and play together.

“The last two years, we slowed down at the end, maybe got a little tired. This year we are going to trun it around and play our baseball game.”

On what the younger guys, like Matt Skole, need to do: “He knows how it is. He knows last year we played a little soft against Southern Miss and they took advantage. The younger guys have been doing a good job of having a lot of energy and keeping that focus and that drive.”

Cole Leonida

On facing left-handers: “Sometimes we get caught up….we do hit a lot of home runs. Majority of those home runs come when we have a good approach. Something to focus on all week in practice. In games when we have soft-throwing lefties, you have to stay on top of the ball and hit it the other way.

“We have to take it upon ourselves to not try to get pull-happy, not to hit home runs, that’s where the soft-throwing pitchers are at their best.”

20 comments Add your comment

Buzz29

June 4th, 2010
5:18 am

Thanks for the in-depth blog this a.m. Doug.

Go Jackets! on the road to Omaha

The Omaha Bowl

June 4th, 2010
6:28 am

Glad to see a Tech Fan likes Omaha! We are thinking about having a bowl game here, and know oneday GT will be a likely candidate.

Lil' Barry Bailout

June 4th, 2010
6:29 am

Damn. I was hoping this was an article on Paul Hewitt.

Dr.Phil

June 4th, 2010
7:13 am

Danny Hall and Paul Hewitt….same results.

Ozzy

June 4th, 2010
7:22 am

At least there’s horse racing in Omaha. That makes it better than Shreveport huh?

Luke

June 4th, 2010
7:59 am

Danny Hall and Paul Hewitt, same results? I don’t quite understand. Danny Hall is a fantastic baseball coach. We don’t have a 45-13 season for no reason…

CYBERJACKET

June 4th, 2010
8:29 am

Agree, you can’t even start to compare Danny Hall with Paul H.

Jacket Backer

June 4th, 2010
8:31 am

good luck to the Jackets… good to see the mutt fans are already into Tech sports this morning….can we say obsessed!!

Go Jackets!!

Better Bowl

June 4th, 2010
9:06 am

Omaha is a whole lot nicer than Shreveport.

Burdell

June 4th, 2010
10:27 am

Go Jackets!!

Lance Link, Secret Chimp

June 4th, 2010
11:21 am

RDR

June 4th, 2010
12:11 pm

Go Dawgs!! We run this state.

GTDGN04

June 4th, 2010
12:27 pm

Hall-Hewitt is an unfair comparison, and just wrong. Hall-Bobby Cox…there ya go.

GTDGN04

June 4th, 2010
12:29 pm

Yeah, dawn fans, slow day at Walmart so far?

Hope you enjoy watching a couple state schools other than your own in the postseason. The Braves have almost won more during their current streak than your sorry crew won all year.

JacketSteve

June 4th, 2010
12:33 pm

Let’s hope that Danny Hall can get these kids back to the CWS. GT baseball has a history of great regular seasons and falling flat in the NCAAs. We’ve been to the CWS only 3 times, and we’ve had some amazing talent. It took Varitek, Nomar and Jay Payton on the same team in ‘94 to get us to the championship game. This team has all the components, great pitching, great hitting, great fielding. Let’s win three this weekend and pack the stadium next weekend for the Super Regionals!!!

LOL

June 4th, 2010
12:40 pm

Good luck Tech, but as a Dawg fan, the negativity of you people always amazes me. We’ve been to Omaha plenty of times, one year of not going isn’t the end of the world. And whats a dawn fan, the detergent? Thought all you holier than though tech fans were supposed to be all geniuses. Remember this too, they only talk trash to you all cause you do it on the UGA stories. How’s recruiting going for you guys by the way? Not so good? Oh thats a shame.

GTDGN04

June 4th, 2010
12:59 pm

You picked up on a grammatical error. No way you’re a Georgia fan.

I was only being “negative” because one of your loud-mouth, redneck, dip chin-stained brethren was trolling over here.

“We run this state” in a comments blog about GT’s first baseman…who beat Georgia three times this year. Obsessed much?

{{25 - 6}}

June 4th, 2010
12:59 pm

nice to see the dawg fans have crawled back out from under their rocks. spring and summer are always the best times for UGA football – they are undefeated and about to become national champions!

Dr.Phil

June 4th, 2010
1:04 pm

Hewitt and Hall were joined at birth! Both can recruit the best players to win National Championships but they don’t it! They play great in the regular seasons but crash and burn in the big games!

Stinger

June 5th, 2010
8:28 am

We are Omaha bound baby. What Regional is UGAY in? I couldn’t find the score even though I only looked in the loosers column.