Auburn, Ala.--As Sunny Golloway and the Auburn Tigers prepare to open the 2014 baseball season in Port Charlotte, Fla., against Indiana State, Ohio State and Connecticut in the Snowbird Classic the excitement surrounding the program is growing with every passing day.
With a big group of veterans to build around and a talented class of newcomers the Tigers have made it their goal to play in Omaha at the College World Series this season.
If that happens it will likely be because of the leadership of a group of players named Auburn’s captains for the season. Seniors Dan Glevenyak, Damek Tomscha, Blake Austin, Michael O'Neal and Terrance Dedrick will be wearing a ‘C’ on their jerseys this season to show their role as captains. Golloway noted it’s an honor that is well deserved because of what each has done on and off the field since he arrived last summer.
“They do a really good job,” the coach said. “Our captains lead. Sometimes they get a little bit mad. Blake Austin gets mad if he’s not winning every game and I love that about him. Glevenyak shows some steady play. Tomscha tries to do too much at times, but it’s because they want to lead.
“Terrance Dedrick is one of our captains, but he’s going to be the guy at the back end. He’s hoping he’s in a position to get a save. We’ve talked to him about it, if we don’t use him on Friday there’s a good chance we’ll use him on Saturday and Sunday. If I haven’t had to use him until Sunday he might throw three or four innings for us.
“Our captains will lead us. They were appointed by the team and coaches for a reason. They’ll do a good job. You can’t hide if you’ve got a ‘C’ on your chest. They’ve got to toe the line and do what’s right.”
Sunny Golloway made the move from Oklahoma to Auburn.
A player who has earned praise from Golloway since fall practice, Glevenyak has made a big transformation to become a leader and that was one of the biggest reasons why he was named one of the captains. He said for him it’s still a little difficult to get used to, but he’s definitely excited about the honor.
“I think it’s a huge honor, but I’m not going to change what I’m doing,” Glevenyak said. “I just keep coming out every day and working hard and trying to set an example for the younger guys.”
Leadership is just one of the things Golloway is looking for out of his captains this season as the Tigers hope to make a run towards the postseason. Depending on the group to provide discipline and make decisions, he pointed out it’s important to have that on any team and he’s excited to see how they do.
“It’s just to do the right thing,” Golloway said of the expectations. “To go and put your arm around somebody when they need to be picked up and get on to somebody when they’re not doing something right. Even little things like taking care of our locker room. We sweat our details.
"I told them don’t be the guy that’s not helping put the tarp on the field. Be a good teammate. Those guys are supposed to police those types of things. We’ll handle the hard discipline. They’ll handle the soft discipline, basically the tempo and character of our club.”
Getting ready to hit the road this week to begin a new season, Dedrick said this team is anxious to get the season started to they can see how much improvement they’ve made since last year. As for being a captain in his final season on the Plains he added it’s something he’ll always be proud of when he thinks on his time at AU.
“It’s an honor for sure to be a senior out here and have the ‘C’ and just try to be a great leader and great teammate for everybody. It’s an honor to have it. I’ll wear it proudly.”
Auburn will face Indiana State in the opening game of the Snowbird Classic on Friday at noon central time.