But baseball season is just around the corner for the Lipscomb Bisons. One area where they have shown consistency in the preseason is their location in the polls with most prognosticators, including Atlantic Sun Conference coaches, picking them ninth.
Coaches usually greet preseason polls, whether they are positive or negative, with a shrug. Bisons’ coach Jeff Forehand is hopeful the dire predictions will motivate his players to elevate their games.
“I told the team that is about right,” Forehand said. “All it is based on is what happened last year and what players people think we have coming back.
“We’ve got question marks on the mound and question marks in other places in other people’s eyes. We feel like we are a lot better on the mound and that we are going to be a lot more competitive than ninth.”
The top six teams in the A-Sun qualify for the tournament which is being held for the second year in a row at Lipscomb’s Ken Dugan Field at Stephen L. Marsh Stadium.
“It is going to be disappointing if we are not in that tournament,” Forehand said. “Our goal is to be the first seed in the conference tournament, but in a league with 11 good teams if we can’t be first then we want to be in the tournament.
“They pick teams in preseason polls for a reason because they think this is what is going to happen. They have called us out. If everybody knew what was going to happen it would be different.”
The A-Sun is one of the more competitive conferences in NCAA Division I. The talent level is deep this season with many teams.
“With the teams that Mercer, Florida Gulf Coast, ETSU, Jacksonville and Belmont are sending back it is going to be tough,” Forehand said. “Everybody in the conference is going to be better. If you go into a weekend not prepared to play you can lose three.”
The Bisons did not place anyone on the preseason all-conference team. Forehand is confident that at least one Bison, pitcher Richie Goodenow, will be an All-Conference selection before the season ends.
Goodenow, a left-hander, was primarily a reliever during his time with the Vanderbilt Commodores before deciding to join the Bisons.
“Richie has played in the Southeastern Conference,” Forehand said. “He has experienced every situation. He has been in a starting role, and for sure, he has been in a reliever’s role.
“Usually when he has gone into a game it has been a clutch situation. I think he is going to be well-prepared for anything that comes his way. He has the experience and poise to pitch in our league.”
Written by Mark McGee, Senior Publisher/Director of Media Relations.