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Baseball Coach Scott Berry Addresses Media Wednesday

Feb. 8, 2017

HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Southern Miss eighth-year baseball coach Scott Berry spoke to an assembled group at the program’s annual media day Wednesday afternoon at Pete Taylor Park/Hill Denson Field.

The following are some of Berry’s quotes from his media conference held in at the facility’s press box:

On if there are any certainties this season:
“Certainly in my mind I’ve got the guys I feel like that we’ll go with from this point on. We still have weekend scrimmages, this Friday’s scrimmage and Friday, Saturday and Sunday. That’s going to tell us a lot. I’m putting some guys in some different roles, different situations and still moving some guys around. We’ve been doing that since the fall. I guess the only certainty is on February 17 we have a really good opponent. Northeastern will be in town and they’re working hard to beat us. We know that going into it and we’re working hard to compete on that front.”

On the feeling of the season being a week out:
“The weather, obviously, we couldn’t ask for anything better and getting the team prepared. That’s one thing about the South, you hope you have that weather. There’s no guarantee that you do. We’ve been very fortunate to get a lot of good work in with an older group. We’ve got some younger guys and some older guys that have a taste of college baseball not only at the Division I level, but also at the junior college level. So they have some experience about them. They know the workload is important and we come out and pay attention to detail and not get bored of what we’re trying to do. We’re going to try and get ahead and work to February 17. You have to be very professional and business-like in your work ethic and I think this group has done exactly that.”

On the starting pitching rotation for the opening weekend:
“I’m not ready to name that. I don’t really know the Friday and Saturday (starters yet). I think it’s one of those two (Kirk McCarty and Hayden Roberts), obviously. I’m pretty confident there, but I really want to get through this weekend. I want to see what happens through this weekend. I don’t want to try and get ahead of the game with naming anything there because anything can happen. Hopefully nothing bad will happen but I live in a world where reality and such things do exist. Plans change when you don’t need them to or want them to. Pitching-wise, obviously, we have to have some new guys step up. We do have some guys who are familiar with the roles of the situation that we’re in. We’re going to ask them to be in, and that’s Kirk and Hayden, who you alluded to as a starter. We have Stevie Powers returning as a sophomore who had five starts, but performed very well for us out of the pen and was able to give us multiple outings and did not have to rest him as a starter. That was important. Nick Sandlin on the back end gives you that great option, but also has taught you not to wait until the end if you don’t have the depth to get you there. If you look at the South Alabama game in Biloxi, we went to him early but we were already behind. We have a lot of newcomers coming in. We’ve lost 315 innings from last year. Some of those innings, Walker Powell, had Tommy John surgery, his second one. He won’t be available this year. He’ll take his redshirt this year. If you look at those 315 innings that aren’t with us, that open up a lot opportunities for some new guys and they will get their chances.”

On the team’s preseason attitude:
“They’re ready. I think any team when you close that fall camp; they feel like they’re in that point where they are ready. The biggest thing for us is I know mentally, we’re ready, but physically we have to get our self in that shape to compete on February 17. We’re continually building the pitchers and get their pitch counts up. We’re trying to get those other guys to perform on back-to-back outings on Friday or Saturday, or Friday and Sunday this weekend and putting them in the test that possibly they’ll be in once the season starts. The attitude is outstanding. It should be. Everybody should be excited to get going. There’s a lot of excitement in our community. There’s a lot of excitement coming from us and a lot of excitement coming from college baseball itself. I myself can see how college baseball is continually building itself and is becoming a very high profile sport.”

On what he is most excited for this year:
“I think if you look at the three phases of the game: pitching, defense and offense; certainly your offense is above average. We return five guys with over 100 at bats, and a 6th one who was just six short of 100 at bats, Taylor Braley. So you have six guys who have 100 at bats returning for you so that’s a lot of experience. Defensively, we’re very athletic. We have a lot of depth position-player wise we’ve ever had since I’ve been here and when I say depth, I mean guys who have the ability to move from one position to another which gives you a lot of different options in particular, late in the game or during the game. I’m excited about those two things. The challenge will be on the mound. The 315 innings is a lot of innings that you have to replace, but we feel like we have those quality guys and they’re going to have to get out there in between the lines when the guy steps up. We have to perform and the staff has done a great job in preparing for that time and are continuing to prepare. We still have that unknown to us and we’ll have to figure that out as we go.”

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