March 1, 2012
WASHINGTON - The Georgetown University baseball team left the Hilltop on a gorgeous Thursday afternoon and began its spring break trip to Florida knowing the Hoyas would get the chance many of them dream about as kids.
The Hoyas, 6-2 overall, will start an 8-game, 11-day trip with an exhibition game against the Washington Nationals on Friday, March 2 at Space Coast Stadium in Viera, Fla.
For members of the team, it's a dream come true to play against a big league team, something they've dreamed about since they were first starting to play the game.
"Every kid sits in his backyard dreaming about that bottom of the ninth situation," junior pitcher Billy Cosmopulos (Seekonk, Mass./Moses Brown[R.I.]) said. "Bases loaded, two outs, and a full count against the best hitter or pitcher in the world. For many of us, the Nationals game on Friday is going to be far closer to that dream than we ever could have imagined.
"Even though it's an exhibition game, I can guarantee that our guys are going to take every second of it seriously. The opportunity to test our skills against the cream of the crop of professional baseball does not come around every day. I'm looking forward to a truly memorable experience."
Just a handful of players from the Hoya team that played the Nats in 2008 are still on the roster and remember that experience.
"It's really exciting knowing that you're going to be facing the highest quality of baseball players," senior pitcher Pablo Vinent (Miami, Fla./Belen Jesuit) said. "It gives us a chance to see how we stack up against the very best, and for many of us it will be the only chance we ever get. I would like to think we will play a much cleaner baseball game than we did against them in 2008. This team not only has a lot of talent and a lot of confidence, maybe even more than any team we've had in the previous four years."
Some of the players also recognized the opportunity they would have to interact with some of the best players in the world, facing a lineup that could include future stars such as Bryce Harper and Anthony Rendon.
"We cannot express enough gratitude to the Nationals organization and our coaching staff here at Georgetown for giving us the opportunity to compete with Major League ball players on the field," redshirt junior shortstop Mike Garza (San Antonio, Texas/Douglas MacArthur) said. "I look forward to hopefully being able to pick their brains about what it takes to reach the next level. I'm sure it will be a truly remarkable experience and something that we will all hold in our memories forever."
Win or lose, the college players know it will be an experience that will stand out in their college careers.
"The opportunity to play against the Nationals is going to be an incredible experience for the entire program and the Georgetown Baseball family," redshirt senior pitcher Tommy Isaacs (Ponte Vedre Beach, Fla./Bolles) said. "This will be one of those moments that none of our guys ever forget."