Off The Wall With College of Charleston's Dupree Hart
College of Charleston is off to a strong start this season under first-year coach Chad Holbrook, who was hired last July to take over the program. After going 28-31 last season, the Cougars are 13-5 this spring and look ready to contend for their first Colonial Athletic Association title since 2015.
Junior second baseman Dupree Hart has been at the heart of the Cougars’ early-season success. He is the team’s leading hitter with a .369/.462/.538 line. Hart and the rest of the Cougars face a difficult test this weekend when they travel to Kansas State (10-6).
Baseball America caught up with Hart to talk about the Cougars’ hot start, playing for Holbrook and their approach against Power Conference teams.
What’s been the key to you guys getting off to such a strong start this season?
“I think all the guys, they come out and have fun playing the game and coming out and enjoying being here and competing. Everyone is playing for each other and picking each other up when things don’t go as well. That’s what we’ve done a lot better this year.”
What has coach Holbrook brought to the team this season?
“He has a lot of passion about the game and he knows what he’s talking about. Him and (hitting coach Kevin Nicholas) are the two that I really like working with in the field and hitting. Those guys really know what they’re talking about and have a passion for the game and a knowledge that helps everyone on the field be a better player and a better person.”
You’re personally off to a good start at the plate. What’s worked for you this season offensively?
“Just trying to get in a rhythm. I’ve been working with coach Nick a lot in the cages and on the field. He helped me with an approach and using the whole field, be able to stay on breaking balls more and take my walks and not swing at balls out of the zone.”
You guys earlier this season swept Georgia, the first ever sweep against a Power Five conference school in program history. This week you get another opportunity against Kansas State. Does playing teams like that give you guys extra motivation?
“We just look at every baseball game as another day to get better and come out and compete. We don’t really look at the opponent. We try to come out and play our best no matter who’s on the other side.”
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What is your walkup song and why did you pick it?
“I’m doing ‘Phone Home’ by Lil Wayne. I went back to my freshman year walkup. I’m a big Lil Wayne guy. He’s my favorite artist and I really like the song so I decided I might as well go back to it.”
What are your goals for the rest of the season?
“Just to be able to lead the team, to be able to play in a regional and possibly a super regional. Just to make it there is something we’ve always wanted to be a part of. There’s a couple guys on the team now that were in the ’14 regional and hearing their stories just makes it seem so exciting, so that’s something I’ve always wanted to do.”
What are you personally working on this year?
“Becoming more of a leader. I got put in the captain’s role this year, so becoming more of a leader. On the field, I’m trying to be more patient at the plate, just trying to find my pitch and not miss it. As I said, take my walks when they come and not swing at pitches out of the zone.”