Ahead of the Mountaineers’ scrimmage with the Arizona Diamondbacks of MLB, head coach Randy Mazey made one thing clear. He doesn’t care if the game doesn’t count in the standings: West Virginia will play to win.
“We’re trying to win the game. That’s kinda how we roll,” Mazey said. “We’re just treating it like a regular game.”
Even so, Mazey knows that the two teams aren’t playing on equal footing. The Diamondbacks have a month to go before their season starts, free to play whoever they want as they rev up for Opening Day. West Virginia’s season has already started, and Mazey will have to keep a much closer eye on the workload his players receive.
“Because it is a scrimmage, we don’t want to do anything in this game that’s gonna jeopardize winning a game on our schedule,” Mazey said. “We’ll just see how the game plays out once it gets started.”
Soaking it all in
Following their weekend series against the Arizona Wildcats, the Mountaineers made the most of their extra day in the Grand Canyon State, receiving a tour of the Diamondbacks’ Chase Field ahead of the scrimmage. It’s one of two big league stadiums the Mountaineers will set foot in this season, with the April 19 Backyard Brawl set to take place at PNC Park. Tonight’s scrimmage will take place at the Diamondbacks’ spring training stadium some 20 miles outside downtown Phoenix.
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Mazey said his team is soaking in the opportunity to get an up close look at how a big league team operates.
“It’s just a pretty cool thing for everyone,” Mazey said. “It’s just gonna be a lot of fun for everybody involved.”
Ever savvy, Mazey wouldn’t reveal whether he has a specific plan for how to manage the scrimmage. However, he did mention that he’ll take the opportunity to get as many players in the game as possible.
“[You’ll] probably see some different lineups and different guys playing,” Mazey said. “[We] want to give everybody an opportunity, if we can, to play against major leaguers.”
That way veteran Mountaineers with a good chance of playing in the big leagues someday have an extended look against professional opponents. On the flip side, the scrimmage is a chance for younger players to get several innings in.
Ever the strategist, Mazey emphasized the impact that a strong game against professional opponents could have on the Mountaineers’ morale.
“We’re gonna try and put our guys in a position to [win],” Mazey said. “We wanna play well and use this game as a springboard to get some momentum going into the weekend.”
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