Spring break allows Salukis to focus on baseball

By Thomas Donley, @TDonleyDE

While students abandon Carbondale for Texas, Florida or wherever they call home, 31 student-athletes will be staying in southern Illinois.

Members of the Saluki baseball team may not have class, but the season does not take a break this week.

“Spring break and [the weeks after the semester] are the best time of the year for us, because it’s all baseball,” coach Ken Henderson said. “It’s more like pro ball.”


The Salukis usually practice in the late afternoon, but will practice in the middle of the day during break. Henderson said the lack of classes makes it easier to get the whole team together at the same time for practice. 

Players might spend a little more time taking batting practice during spring break, but Henderson does not extend practice times when class is not in session.

After practice, players are free to play video games, or relax by a pool.

“The other thing [break] allows them to do is get away from baseball and school,” Henderson said. “We practice at 11. We’re done at 2, and we’ll have guys go play nine holes of golf, guys who’ll go fish and guys who’ll just go relax. And I think that’s important, too … because with the class time and baseball, spring is a grind.”

The Dawgs start break with a three-game series at home with St. John’s. They travel to Arkansas State on Tuesday, a rare road game at this point in the season, before coming back to Itchy Jones Stadium for two games each with Illinois and Northern Illinois.

Junior third baseman Ryan Sabo said student-athletes welcome the week without class.

“It’s unreal. Doing homework on the bus is probably the most miserable thing you could ever do. We’re traveling midweek, so having that week off and not having to sit there on a computer crammed next to someone else doing homework will be fun.”


Sabo said the absence of other students on campus is noticeable. 

“It’s definitely dead,” he said. “It’s different. I still hope we have good crowds at our games, but it might just be our parents. It’ll still be fun.”

Junior reliever Anthony Shimkus said he is not jealous of his classmates who will be spending the week somewhere on a beach.

“It’d be cool to go on a spring break vacation,” he said. “It’d be a nice change of pace, but I wouldn’t trade it for [baseball] at all. You only get four years of this, and you can go on vacation for the rest of your life.”

Thomas Donley can be reached at [email protected]