Head Baseball Coach Al Corbeil joined Polk State in 2011. Under his watch the past seven seasons, the Eagles have won more games than any other state college/community college program in Florida with a 276-98 record.
In 2012, Al guided the team to a state championship and a spot in the JUCO World Series. The Polk State baseball program has been nationally recognized and ranked in the top 20 in the country by the NJCAA/Perfect Game in all seven seasons.
We asked Al to reflect on this season and to look forward to the state tournament.
Your team set a Polk State record for wins in the regular season with 40, and you ended the regular season ranked No. 2 in FCSAA and No. 4 in NJCAA. What were the keys to your success this season?
This season we were able to bring back a lot of returning players who understood the culture and expectations here. They've been through a full season, so I think that experience has helped a great deal.
Who would you say is this season's most valuable player and why?
We had two team MVPs
Skylar Frey on the offensive side was incredibly consistent for most of the year, hitting .340 with 30 stolen bases and playing a very good right field.
Zach Schneider really anchored our bullpen and has been lights out, saving games and keeping us in games all year long.
I think we had a bunch of guys who have had very productive years, but those two have been our most consistent guys all year long.
Your teams always have good pitching. This year you had Jordan Spicer named Suncoast Conference pitcher of the year and Zach Schneider named Suncoast Conference fireman of the year. What do you do to achieve this continued success?
Our pitching coach Brad Cook continues to push and drive these guys to get the most out of them. All the credit goes to him and the time and effort he puts into helping these guys succeed.
And then obviously credit goes to those pitchers for buying into everything and putting the work in.
You just won your fourth straight Suncoast Conference championship, and sixth in seven years. How have you managed to be so successful?
It's definitely been a challenge. There's so much turnover at this level with players that you're constantly starting over.
I've been very fortunate to have very good assistant coaches who are committed to these guys and to the program. I think we've been on the same page and it's really helped us with everything we try to implement and with recruiting.
You start play in the state tournament next month, and you'll face some of the best teams in Florida. What are the keys to winning the tournament?
It's the same every year. You have to find a way to beat some really good arms early in the tournament.
You have to have a club that can push through the conditions physically and mentally to win it.