Hutchinson staying comfortable in GJ

Baseball players are all about routine.

There’s nothing that shocks a routine like having to travel across the country and play for a national championship.

The 10 teams in the Alpine Bank Junior College World Series arrived late last week, and spent the first few days trying to get comfortable in their surroundings before getting onto the field.

“For me it’s important to keep it the same because I’m not smart enough to change things up,” Hutchinson (Kansas) Community College coach Kyle Crookes said jokingly. “You keep it the same so these guys know what to expect. We are trying not to complicate things for them.”

It’s the little things that help keep a team comfortable.Two things work to keep players staying uncomfortable — long travel time and staying in a hotel for potentially more than one week.

“There are some things that are inevitable like staying in the hotel, and being in a different place that’s a far away,” Crookes said. “But the better they do with that, the better we’ll be.”

The Blue Dragons left Wednesday morning after midnight for the 12-hour trip and arrived Wednesday afternoon in Grand Junction. Hutchinson qualified for the tournament on May 18 so when it was time to leave, the team was itching to get on the bus.

“We’ve been anxious and ready to go,” Hutchinson catcher Dan Klein said. “We had a lot of fun on the bus, didn’t get much sleep, but it was exciting and you could feel the energy.”

Klein said when the bus neared Grand Junction, the team started to realize what they were about to take on.

“The first time the experience hits you was when we rolled into town,” Klein said.

During the first two days in Grand Junction, the teams spent their time practicing at Bergman Field and Canyon View Park, getting their team pictures and, most commonly, itching to get onto the field and start the tournament.

Klein said that although there are certain things that are very different for the Blue Dragons, they are doing everything they can to stay calm.

“We are really superstitious on this team and we like to keep the same routine every day,” Klein said. “You can really tell during the games. We don’t move a whole lot, have different handshakes that we’ve been doing all year so we are going to keep it all the same, and hope everything goes well.”


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