Over the past year, one of the main topics at the University has been the transition from Division III to Division II, especially among student athletes.
“We always felt like we could compete with anyone, no matter who it was,” former pitcher Brandon Saddler said. “So being able to go up to D2, and be able to have people on scholarship, along with everything that comes with it, it is going to attract a new crowd of athletes and assist in landing recruits that we might not have been able to get before.”
When the University first announced the transition to Division II, players expressed mixed emotions since teams aren’t able to participate in post-season for three years. But Saddler believes the change is exactly what the program needed.
“Looking at the transition now, some might not like it because of the post season ban, but I feel that down the road, it is going to be one of the best decisions the school has made,” Saddler said.
Since the university isn’t playing a full Division II schedule, the 2019 season is a time for growth among individual players and as a team. It also allows the current players to lay a foundation for the future teams who will be cycled through the years at the Division II competition level.
After finishing out the previous season so strong, the real question is, will they be ready to take on the fight at the next competitive level?
We’ll definitely be ready,” Senior Pitcher Max Page said. “The level of competition hasn’t changed that much against the D2 teams we’ve played. The biggest change will probably be playing Friday, Saturday [and] Sunday instead of having double headers on Saturday. It’ll be cool to see all the new teams and stadiums we will be playing at next year.”
It has almost been a year since the UT Tyler baseball team won the National Championship. Currently, its schedule consists of a mix of both Division III and Division II teams.