Joplin Outlaws prepare for season opener Thursday

PSU assistant coach Gonzalo Gonzalez is the Outlaws new head coach

JOPLIN, Mo. – It’s time for summer baseball at Joe Becker Stadium. The Joplin Outlaws are days away from their season opener. Today, the team met for the very first time.

“These guys are really going to see that the city of Joplin does a great job at supporting the program,” says head coach Gonzalo Gonzalez. “It’s important for us to put a good product out on the field for these fans.”

Pitt State assistant Gonzalo Gonzalez takes over as head coach of the Outlaws.

“For me, I think the focus is just having these guys stay loose,” Gonzalez says. “At the end of the day, it’s about these guys coming here, developing, and getting better and hopefully winning some baseball games in the process.  Everyone knows that if you’re able to play loose and play in a little bit more of a fun atmosphere, you’re going to get a better player in the end.”

Gonzalez is joined by two of his former players. Recent PSU grads Austin Bonnel and Caleb Carr are assistants on this year’s coaching staff.

“I really think both those guys have great baseball minds or else they wouldn’t be here,” Gonzalez says. “They have a really good knack for building relationships with players, so that was a big reason why I wanted to have them on this summer.”

This year’s roster is filled with talent from across the country, from as far as Hawaii to athletes from right here in the Four States.

“It’s a big honor to be able to come out here and play in my home town and get to have the people that supported me through high school come out and watch me again,” says Josh Harryman, a pitcher for Three Rivers CC and Joplin High School alum. “It should be a good time and I’m glad to be here.”

“Yesterday we came here and visited the stadium and it’s really nice,” says University of Hawaii-Hilo outfielder, Cody Min. “I haven’t really played at a college stadium like this. Back home we don’t really have fields like this, so it’s a really good experience.”

Now, it’s full speed ahead.

“These next couple days are really about these guys getting to know one another and hopefully get some team camaraderie, and then we’re going to be able to see what kind of product we’re going to be able to put out there.”

Joplin hosts the Nevada Griffons in their season opener on Thursday at 7pm.