SU Baseball Set its Sights on the NCAA Tournament
Posted by Caitlin Joyce on Thursday, January 5, 2017 at 2:37 PM PST
If you’re a supporter of Seattle U athletics, than Seattle U’s baseball team should already be on your radar.
Seattle U baseball had quite a season in 2016, winning its first regular season WAC conference and head coach, Donny Harrel, was named the WAC Coach of the Year. We sat down with Harrel to reflect on his last eight years with the Redhawks and to get a look at the season ahead.
Harrel has been with the Redhawks since they transitioned back to Division 1 in 2010. The team has experienced a lot of growth, success and increasing national attention.
“We have gone from 11 wins in our first season back in 2010 to 37 wins last year and the first conference championship in school history. Also, for the first time in our young history, we received votes on the national level as a top 40 program. Even though we did not break into the top 40 - we did receive votes and that is a good feeling that other programs see us being as good as we expect ourselves to be.”
In the past two years, five Seattle U players have been picked in the Major League Baseball amateur draft, including, Brock Carpenter for the Dodgers, Mike McCann for the Royals, Landon Cray for the Rays, Will Dennis for the Orioles and Brian Olson for the Twins.
Players who are signed during their junior year, often stick around to complete their education and practice with the Redhawks. Seattle U’s quarter systems makes it possible for the players to attend class before the season starts. Harrel says a benefits of this is that newcomers have the opportunity to practice and build relationships with professional athletes around them who are living their dreams and getting an education.
For Harrel, the relationships play a big role in the success of the team. “The key for our team is trust and buying into the program. I truly feel our approach is as personal as any program in the country. We develop a strong relationship with the student athletes and their families prior to them coming to Seattle U. This allows both sides to truly know the needs and expectations from all parties. For these reasons - we are very careful of the recruits and people we bring in because they have to fit our culture.”
What can you expect from the Redhawks this season? “We once again have the immediate goal of winning our conference, but also expect to play in an NCAA regional for the first time in school history. Our goals moving forward are to stay on top and be a national name that people recognize in the baseball world. We also want to be known for a place where students can play high caliber baseball and along the way, get a tremendous education and be well prepared for the real world. Our legacy needs to come from what our players are able to do after Seattle U, not just what we are accomplishing while they are here.”
Our players are already having a lasting impact on the community outside of their sports careers. Many volunteer with Seattle food banks, Seattle Children’s Hospital and the Boys and Girls Club. “These young men are future leaders of our community. I want our alumni to be proud of what we are doing and will continue to do in the future. All the credit goes to our student athletes who truly believe in making this world a better place. That is SU baseball!”
You can show your support for our Redhawks by coming out to games and cheering for them this season. A season schedule is online, but make sure to mark your calendars for the two matchups between the Redhawks and the Huskies on April 25 and May 9.
Can’t wait for the season to start? On Friday, January 27, the Seattle U baseball team is hosting Meet the Redhawks, a fundraiser that gives attendees a chance to meet the players, share a meal with them and help raise funds for future projects and facilities. Seattle Mariners Manager Scott Servais will be this year’s guest speaker. You can learn more and get tickets for Meet the Redhawks here.
We hope to see you supporting Seattle U baseball this season. Go Redhawks!