Jonathan Tapia’s second season with the Victoria Generals promises to be much different than his first.
Tapia and his teammates will play an abbreviated 30-game Texas Collegiate League schedule that opens Tuesday with a three-game series at the Acadiana Cane Cutters.
The Generals home opener will be Friday night at Riverside Stadium against the Brazos Valley Bombers.
With the exception of the preseason games he’s played, Tapia will be taking the field for the first time since UTSA’s season was halted because of the COVID-19 pandemic in March.
“Honestly, it’s just like riding a bike,” he said. “You’ve just got to keep going. It’s not hard, honestly. Once you’re with the guys, it’s a lot of fun.”
The Generals have done their best to get ready for the upcoming season in their short time together at Riverside Stadium.
“We’ve seen a lot,” said Generals head coach Michael Oros. “We got a lot of at-bats, a lot of game-type situations we’ve been in.”
The Generals took three days off last week, and during that time the players were tested for the virus. Oros said they all tested negative.
“We’re trying to keep everyone healthy,” Oros emphasized. “Pitching-wise we’re still not to the point where we can expand out and get more than two innings and that will be a little bit different. Hitting-wise, we have a lot of good guys in here and it will be hard to make decisions.”
With a short season, Oros knows it’s imperative to get off to a good start.
“You’ve got to get out of the blocks fast,” he said. “If you fall behind, you lose a few early, you could be done.”
The Generals will compete in the South Division against the Bombers, Cane Cutters, San Antonio Flying Chanclas and the Round Rock Hairy Men.
“The talent we’ve seen in the preseason has been outstanding,” Oros said. “What I’m more impressed with these guys is how we’ve taken our style of baseball and done that every season which makes me feel good going into the regular season.”
Even with a shorter season, the Generals hope to bring home their second league title in the last three seasons.
“You take the same approach,” Tapia said. “You want to win every game. You want to do your best for you and the team. You can’t take it for granted.”
The Generals have instituted measures at Riverside Stadium to keep fans safe.
Temperatures will be taken entering the stadium. Face masks are recommended while traveling through the stadium.
Seating will be in every other row to ensure social distancing. Seating on the party deck will be limited to VIPs.
Those purchasing beer must go behind the first-base dugout and around to the ramp onto the party deck, and exit through the stands along the first-base line.
The concession stand will accept cash, but credit cards are preferred.