HICKORY, N.C. — The Catawba Valley Community College baseball program released its 2018 schedule on Thursday.
The Red Hawks, who are guided by fourth-year head coach Paul Rozzelle, open the season on Saturday, Feb. 10 with a home doubleheader against the Piedmont International JV team.
Catawba Valley plays three home weekend series in its first month of action, including against Walters State on Feb. 17-18 and versus USC Union on Feb. 24-25.
Included in CVCC's 2018 schedule are also three Wednesday doubleheaders each in the months of February, March and April — something Rozzelle believes will help his club.
"We made a conscious effort to assure that we would have midweek games all year," Rozzelle said. "In years past, we have felt that not continuously playing throughout the week has ultimately hurt us. In order to do this, we have made all of our weekend series three games, which matches our conference weekends and provides us those extra games to throw in the midweek. It will allow us to have a true starting staff, which in the long run, will prepare us for postseason play."
The Red Hawks' 56-game regular season schedule includes 15 games in February, 20 in March, 18 in April and three in May. CVCC will play against 18 different teams during that time, including Walters State, USC Salkehatchie, Louisburg, Spartanburg Methodist and USC Lancaster.
"We have a great mix of out-of-conference opponents with local JV programs, which allow our kids to play in front of four-year schools and big time programs," Rozzelle said. "That will provide great tests for our team as they are proven programs with great coaches and players."
One of the highlights of CVCC's baseball schedule is a match up with Pitt Community College — the defending Region X/SE District champions. The Red Hawks and Bulldogs face off in Hickory in a Saturday doubleheader on March 24 and in a single game on Sunday, March 25.
"To me, our league is one of the best in the nation and is only getting better," Rozzelle said. "I think last year the league finished with four or five teams in the top-25 nationally in several offensive categories. Every weekend can be a battle so being able to test ourselves early with some of these power programs will only help us prepare for our conference slate."
CVCC finishes up the regular season on Saturday, March 5 and Sunday, March 6 at New River Community College before starting Region X/Southeast District tournament play on May 10. The tournament continues through May 14 and will determine which team will go to the NJCAA Division II World Series, which is from May 26-31 in Enid, Okla.
The Red Hawks finished their 2017 spring campaign with a 31-25 record, including 16-10 mark in conference games.
The CVCC baseball program also had its six-straight All-American in outfielder Chandler Jenkins, who was also named the first National Player of the Year in school history.
The Red Hawks also had a third-straight Gold Glove winner in catcher Riley Smith.
For a full look at the CVCC baseball schedule, click here.