Bianco visits River City Rebel Club

Published 1:23 pm Friday, August 8, 2014

 With the taste of a College World Series berth fresh on their tongues, Vicksburg Ole Miss fans were able to satiate their early craving for college baseball Thursday at a River City Rebel Club dinner with head coach Mike Bianco. The event, held at the Convention Center, highlighted the team’s improbable Omaha run and how the team will deal with the high expectations that are already rising for the 2015 season.

“I think (we deal with them) the same way that we dealt with them last year, in the sense that as a coach and as a team, in any sport, you can’t look outside of that locker room or outside that field,” Bianco said. “The game is not won in the polls, it’s not won by high expectations or low expectations.”

Ole Miss was projected to finish sixth out of seven teams in the SEC West last season and did not start the year ranked. But despite entering the season without the accompaniment of the usual pomp and circumstance, players and coaches knew the high ceiling the team possessed.

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“Last year, when the preseason polls came out, not being preseason ranked, being picked to finish near the bottom of the SEC West, we knew how good we could be,” he said. “We were confident in that.”

Bianco said he believes the value of playing at the highest level will help his squad stay focused and as they look to repeat that success.

“Once you go there, once you experience that, you want more,” Bianco said. “(Infielder) Errol Robinson just sent me a text two nights ago of the final episode of (Ole Miss baseball documentary) The Season, the dog pile at Louisiana-Lafayette. He said he’s watched it like 20 times and can’t wait for the season to start. That has made the kids hungry.”

The main talking point of the evening hinged on the journey to the Omaha, which began around this time last year at a coach’s retreat in Oxford. That detailed meeting marked the unofficial beginning of the new year and, in Bianco’s mind, was the spark that began the club’s College World Series run.

“It all started about this time last year with a coach’s retreat. Basically, all it is is our staff locking themselves into the Diamond Club for literally about 12 hours and just really going over every aspect of the program, bringing in different people that are in charge of different areas in the program,” Bianco said. “Starting with a plan, then implementing it and going through the fall and the spring and, of course, ending up in Omaha.”