NoleGameday

2016 Noles a mix of young and old

Glenn Beil/Tallahassee Democrat

The 2016 Seminoles have only 6 seniors on the team, but don’t think that makes them unfocused. With the season less than a week away the players all echoed a similar goal: get to Omaha. There is undoubtedly a buzz and excitement surrounding this year’s team. Freshman phenom Cole Sands, drafted by the Houston Astros in the 2015 MLB Draft, is one of the key new faces for Florida State this season. “Everyone’s real excited, we’ve all been itching to get to this point and have the season start,” said Sands. Sands, slated to start the third game of the opening series, throws a fastball, changeup, and a slider.

The Seminoles are certainly talented, thanks in large part to an influx of newcomers. Freshmen Sands, Tyler Holton, and Cal Raleigh are expected to see significant playing time and to have a large role in the success of this team. As first year college baseball players, there is expected to be a learning curve. According to Sands, the biggest difference is the, “speed of the game.”

Raleigh preached a patient approach for the season, “we’re just taking it one day at a time.” Raleigh is a catcher and is expected to see many opportunities behind the plate this season.

With the departures of D.J. Stewart and Boomer Biegalski, the Seminoles had a gap in talent and with leadership. That slack has been picked up by current leaders of the team such as Mike Compton, John Sansone, and Ben DeLuzio have been leading by example. When speaking on his leadership, Compton described the process: “We’re making sure that we’re teaching the young guys by example and just making sure they’re doing the right things.”

Junior Quincy Nieporte thinks that Fan Day will be a great opportunity for the freshmen to realize how storied the Florida State program is and how loyal the fans are. “I think the freshmen will be able to realize how much love and support we have with the couple hundred that come out.” Nieporte, arguable the Seminoles’ second-best hitter last year, has been transitioning back to catcher this winter. According to Nieporte, “catching is like riding a bike.” “I’ve been catching since I started playing baseball…catching is my first love, I love catching,” said Nieporte.

Whether or not the 2016 Seminoles will make it to Omaha is to be determined, what is not to be determined is that the season starts on Friday. At the end of the day the Seminoles are less than a week away from NCAA competition and as Nieporte said: “We can’t wait.”

The first game of the season is Friday 2/19 at 4PM at Dick Hoswer Stadium.


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