Dec. 11, 2009
by Brandon Rebboah `13
SANTA CLARA, Calif.-
SANTA CLARA, Calif.-Five All-West Coast Conference honors, two WCC All-freshman team awards and a 2009 batting title. Those are just some of the personal accomplishments of three Bronco veterans: Tommy Medica, Nate Garcia, and Geoff Klein.
All three are in position to finish their college careers among the most accomplished players in Santa Clara's 125-years of baseball history, but heading into the 2010 season team goals have been put above their own. Their aim is simple: get to the postseason.
"Obviously I have to live up to my potential," says Klein, who shared the 2009 WCC batting crown, hitting .359 as a junior. "I have to hold myself accountable. After that, I think my biggest responsibility is to pick up everyone else on this team. I think it's our job as leaders to do that, to show them and expect from them performance at the highest level."
Santa Clara head coach Mark O'Brien likes what he has seen from the three stars, saying: They've done everything asked of them this fall. The biggest thing we stressed to them as a coaching staff was to lead by example. Without question they've done a good job of setting the standard.
This year's team motto, `Burn the Ships,' stresses the importance of each individual in the Broncos' program doing everything it takes to reach the team's potential. The term refers to the legend of Hernan Cortés who, as legend has it, burned his ships to prevent his men from retreating prior to attacking the Aztec Empire by sea in 1519.
"Basically it's a story about commitment," said O'Brien. "In order to be successful we have to have all 35 guys in our program fully committed."
Medica and Garcia - who have been teammates since their travel ball days as 13-year old's - have made serious commitments in offseason training. Medica has rehabbed the shoulder he had surgically repaired last season and Garcia shed 30 pounds, both continuing to work closely with first-year strength and conditioning coach Ron Forbes.
"Guys are getting stronger and in much better shape conditioning wise," said Garcia who led the WCC in strikeouts last season. "It's going to help down the road with our 55 games. Guys are going to have their legs underneath them the whole season to make a run at the playoffs."
The Broncos' roster consists of 20 first-year players and 14 true freshmen.
"We have to get (the young players) used to the game at this level, help them out when they're in the cage or bullpen," said Medica, a Baseball America Freshman All-American in 2007.
Going into the season, Medica, Garcia, and Klein are in a great position to lead their team, hoping their offseason work will payoff when Santa Clara opens the season at home against the University of Nevada on Friday night, Febuary 19th.