New team, new chances


Toby Pechner, a junior marketing communication major, makes a sliding catch in the field at one of the team’s daily practices at Dunbar Park, 300 E. 31st St. 

By Multimedia Editor

2014–2015 season, the Renegades baseball team leaders are hopeful the revamped squad can take on tough teams this season. 

Tim Gorski, a 2014 marketing communication alumnus, and one of three Renegade coaches, said he was thrilled because nearly 35 Columbia students tried out for the team this year, a greater turnout than in previous seasons.

“It’s a whole new team,” Gorski said. “We have been developing [the baseball team] over the past 2 1/2 years because it is difficult to get people excited about athletics, or sports or fitness through Columbia.”

Connor Hudson, a junior marketing communication major and the team’s pitcher and shortstop, said this year’s team has depth.

“Last year, we were struggling to get the right guys out there at the right time, so we were struggling to win,” Hudson said. “Now we are really deep in every position and should compete just about every week.”

Jon Bowman, a senior creative writing major and former president of the Renegades, is also coaching the team alongside Gorski and Columbia alumnus Mackinley Salk, a 2011 radio and television alumnus.

Bowman has been with the Renegades baseball team for four years, though this is his first year coaching. He said the team this year has the most players with potential he has ever seen and it should help later in the season. 

“The level of talent we had at this tryout is just higher than I’ve seen in my four years at Columbia, so I’m very excited about this team,” Bowman said. “It’s a very committed bunch of people, and that’s what you need to be successful in this league.”

The team’s first game is scheduled for Oct. 5 against the University of Notre Dame’s club team at Notre Dame’s home field. They are set to play Notre Dame again at a field in Bedford Park, 7648 W. 66th Place, on Oct. 12. 

“Notre Dame is going to be tough,” Bowman said. “They won our conference last year. It’s a division one school, but I think this squad is prepared to face them more than any other squad that we’ve had.”

The Renegades last played Notre Dame’s club team Oct. 5, 2013 in a double header. Columbia lost 14-1 in the first game and then 6-1 in the second game. 

Although the team is relatively new, players said they are still hopeful and excited to see how the team will match up against other competing schools.

“Notre Dame is probably the best team we’ve played all year,” Hudson said. “They kind of give us a big wake up call early on that we need to play a lot better. But honestly, they’re going to be underestimating us a lot going in, and we have a lot of new guys that are going to make us a hard team to beat.”

Taylor Martin, a freshman cinema art + science major, has been with the Renegades for two weeks and is eager to see what they can do. 

“The guys are awesome and the team is looking good so far,” Martin said. “We might have a chance this year. I know in the past we haven’t won a substantial lot of games, but we are looking pretty good.” 

Hudson said the surge of new players was not only an advantage for the team, but also increased team morale. 

“I’m so much more excited to play baseball,” Hudson said. “Columbia struggled last year, so to go from that to now having a solid core and bringing in more talent, it’s going to be great.”