MADISON, S.D. - When considering the opponents on the Dakota State University baseball schedule during the 2012 season, you can only describe the season as challenging. "We played one of the most difficult schedules of all the independent teams in the country and it paid off at tournament time with us being one of the final 45 teams alive," commented Scott Hortness, who enters his third season as head coach of the Trojan baseball program. "When you look at the teams we played and how they did, and then look at the other independent schedules and who their opponents were, we really asked a great deal of our guys. To go out and play a good program almost every game and watch our guys compete every time out, that made us better at tournament time."
The 2013 schedule will be another challenge for the Trojans as they currently have 49 games, 13 of those against teams that won 32 or more contests. But that is not the only challenge for the 2013 Trojans. Thirteen of the schedule 49 games will be against programs that qualified for the 2012 NAIA Baseball National Championship Opening Round. "Facing quality opponents is how we evaluate our players and how we judge whether or not we are prepared to compete on a national level. If our institution is going to spend the money to send us to post-season tournaments, it is up to us to prove that we are worthy of their investment and ready to compete at a high level," said Hortness.
The 2013 campaign sees the first 24 games on the road out-of-state for the Trojans including the spring trip this year to Kentucky. "Probably eight of those first 24 games will be against teams that will show up in the Top 25 in the country at some point during the year," said Hortness. "Road trips help our guys get to know each other and come together as a unit. That first month will be a real good test for us. We look forward to the trips south and knocking heads with some of the best teams in the country. That trip to Kentucky along has three teams - Campbellsville, Lindsey Wilson and Saint Catherine - that could be Top 25 teams and they are all within about an hour of each other. We could go to Arizona or Florida, but sometimes you just don't know who you will be playing until you get there. We don't do things that way. We want to know that the investment of the trip is worthwhile in development, not just racking up wins."
Of the final 25 games in 2013, the Trojans will be sleeping in their own beds almost the entire time. "Except for the Concordia trip to Seward, Neb., we will either be playing at home or have a one day trip on the road," added Hortness. "Having just eleven home games is OK with us because sometimes you are lucky to play eleven home games in this part of the country." To end the regular season, the Trojans will travel to Brookings to take on NCAA Division I South Dakota State University on April 24.
In 2012, Dakota State regained a lot of national respect while going 28-28 overall record. "Our guys scratched and clawed every day to qualify for the trip out to California and the Association of Independent Institutions (A.I.I.) Tournament," stated Hortness. "Riding a bus for 36 hours and knocking off the host-team in the opener was worth the trip, but to see our guys continue to beat teams out there and advance to the national tournament was a tremendous achievement. You have to be willing to accept challenges and learn to overcome them if you are going to find out how good you can be. In 2013, our goal is to make the 70-day regular-season the best time of their lives; and then make post-season special. If we can do that, winning will take care of itself."
Game times will be announced on a later date. Below is the 2013 DSU Baseball regular-season schedule:
|Feb. 16||Saint Mary (Kan.)||Leavenworth, Kan.||Doubleheader|
|Feb. 17||Peru State (Neb.)||Peru, Neb.||Doubleheader|
|Feb. 18||Peru State (Neb.)||Peru, Neb.||9-inning game|
|Feb. 23||Baker (Kan.)||Baldwin City, Kan.||Doubleheader|
|Feb. 24||Baker (Kan.)||Baldwin City, Kan.||Doubleheader|
|March 2||Asbury (Ky.)||Wilmore, Ky.||Doubleheader|
|March 3||Kentucky State||Frankfort, Ky.||Doubleheader|
|March 4||Brescia (Ky.)||Owensboro, Ky.||9-inning game|
|March 5||Saint Catherine (Ky.)||Springfield, Ky.||7-inning game|
|March 5||Brescia (Ky.)||Owensboro, Ky.||7-inning game|
|March 6||Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)||Columbia, Ky.||9-inning game|
|March 8||Campbellsville (Ky.)||Campbellsville, Ky.||9-inning game|
|March 9||Campbellsville (Ky.)||Campbellsville, Ky.||Doubleheader|
|March 16||Hastings (Neb.)||Hastings, Neb.||Doubleheader|
|March 17||Hastings (Neb.)||Hastings, Neb.||Doubleheader|
|March 21||Dakota Wesleyan (S.D.)||Madison, S.D.||Doubleheader|
|March 23||Concordia (Neb.)||Seward, Neb.||Doubleheader|
|March 24||Concordia (Neb.)||Seward, Neb.||Doubleheader|
|March 26||Mount Marty (S.D.)||Madison, S.D.||Doubleheader|
|March 29||Mayville State (N.D.)*||Madison, S.D.||Doubleheader|
|March 30||Mayville State (N.D.)*||Madison, S.D.||Doubleheader|
|April 1||Mount Marty (S.D.)||Yankton, S.D.||Doubleheader|
|April 8||Morningside (Iowa)||Madison, S.D.||9-inning game|
|April 11||Morningside (Iowa)||Sioux City, Iowa||9-inning game|
|April 13||Dakota Wesleyan (S.D.)||Mitchell, S.D.||Doubleheader|
|April 17||Briar Cliff (Iowa)||Madison, S.D.||Doubleheader|
|April 18||Dakota Wesleyan (S.D.)||Mitchell, S.D.||Doubleheader|
|April 20||Briar Cliff (Iowa)||Sioux City, Iowa||Doubleheader|
|April 24||South Dakota State||Brookings, S.D.||9-inning game|
|*Denotes Association of Independent Institutions (A.I.I.) conference game|
Nick Huntimer, Dakota State University Sports Information Director