SCC baseball uses fall to prepare for spring

Upcoming exhibitions will test the Artichokes' resolve with the season still months away

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SCC baseball uses fall to prepare for spring

The Artichokes were one game over .500 last season and aim to launch a deep playoff run in 2017.

The Artichokes were one game over .500 last season and aim to launch a deep playoff run in 2017.

Trent Baze/Scottsdale Chronicle

The Artichokes were one game over .500 last season and aim to launch a deep playoff run in 2017.

Trent Baze/Scottsdale Chronicle

Trent Baze/Scottsdale Chronicle

The Artichokes were one game over .500 last season and aim to launch a deep playoff run in 2017.

Trent Baze, Reporter, Scottsdale Chronicle

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With the offseason well underway for SCC’s Artichokes baseball club, preparation is a top priority for coaches and players.

In 2016, the Yavapai Roughriders captured the Arizona Community College Athletic Conference World Series. The Artichokes have begun fall practices in the hopes of capturing it themselves in 2017.

This early in the year, it is hard to be sure how the team will compete. Players have been getting into playing shape in preparation for the lengthy season ahead. Teams that fail to prepare adequately can be subject to exhaustion near the end of the season, which is the most critical time for any competing team. Conditioning and strength training is a focus for most teams this early in the year and a number of Artichokes have been playing games all summer to prepare for fall and spring.

Head coach Alex Cherney, who has been at the helm of the team the past 12 years, knows from experience how important offseason preparations are.

“It is time for a lot of work to be done,” Cherney said.

The Artichokes finished with a record above .500 (29-28) last season but in 2017 the club has hopes of building on that record and making a deep playoff run.

A large positive from last season is the team’s success on the mound. This year’s team “should have a good pitching staff, but will have a tough act to follow,” Cherney said.

Last year, the Artichokes had one of the top pitching staffs in its conference, posting a 3.82 team earmed run average, which ranked second in the league. The team also had the fewest walks allowed of any team in the ACCAC.

At the plate, the club also ranked well in hitting statistics, blasting 36 home runs as a team, good for fourth in the 14-team ACCAC. The club leader in homers, Alex Pener, hopes to build on his numbers in 2017. Last season, he hit .329 with 11 home runs and 63 runs batted in, hitting third in the lineup for a majority of the season.

“I expect to repeat it by keeping my same work ethic, not changing any of my habits,” Pener said.

Pener also stressed how his team values commitment to the craft.

“It’s a long fall and a long season,” he said. “If we don’t focus every day, we’re going to fall behind.”

Pener and the rest of the Artichokes hope this focus and hard work can translate into regular-season success next spring. You can find more info the Artichokes’ fall exhibition by visiting gochokes.com.

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