EMPORIA (KSNT) – With a talented senior class in 2016, not too many people had high hopes for this Hornet squad this season, but head coach Bob Fornelli did his magic once again.
“I think year in and year out since I’ve been here, coach has got the right people here,” said Jacob Tetua, junior pitcher. “I think no matter what, we’ll fill the spots and be the best team that we could be.”
One part of his philosophy; bringing the players together, and that’s been the biggest factor with their success.
“That’s the nice thing about this team, the cohesiveness, they just stay together, believe in one another, and they never back down,” Fornelli said. “We talked about it, if you get punched in the nose, are you going to stand up and fight, or are you going to lay there and get worn out.”
The Hornets definitely did just not lay there, as ESU has had a historic year, winning their first regular season conference title since 2011.
“It’s exciting,” said Wade Hanna, senior outfielder. “I’ve been here for a long time, in the past 3 years we got 2nd. We’ve been close but haven’t quite got it.”
The historic season was also highlighted with a personal achievement, even though it’s the ultimate prize that the coach is looking for.
Fornelli holds the most career wins in school history, but for coach bob fornelli to reach the ultimate goal, it might take another milestone.
“He’s never had a team win both regular season and conference tournament,” Hanna said. “So that’s a goal that we want to try to accomplish.”
Fornelli knows, by reaching their target this week that will go a long way to achieving the ultimate goal next week.
“This weekend we want to go play, have fun, and give ourselves a chance,” Fornelli said. “Because you really want to be playing your best baseball the following week.”
Emporia State will open up the MIAA Tournament against Missouri Southern on Thursday.