The Davenport baseball team was on fire in 2020, the Panthers were 13-2 when the season was canceled because of COVID-19.
"We were on a roll," senior second baseman Nolan Bryant said. "We had such a good team, a lot of seniors, a lot of good players. It was tough, it came to an end so quickly."
DU is back on the field this spring and the last thing the players want is to lose baseball again.
That is why when the COVID-19 vaccine became available, a bunch of the players got it.
"I thought it would be a good idea, we got our season taken away last year due to COVID," senior right fielder Hunter Ruhstorfer said. "Being a senior...we came back to hopefully have a chance at winning a ring, so we decided we'd all go get the vaccine so we couldn't get quarantined anymore and we could be alive for the tournament."
Leaders on the team like Bryant and Ruhstorfer didn't just get vaccinated, they encouraged their teammates to do the same.
As of Tuesday, 22 players were fully vaccinated which is about half the team.
"Our goal every weekend is to go win a series and we want to be full strength as much as we can and keeping guys locked in," Bryant said. "Eye on the prize making sure they are making smart decisions on the weekends or during the week to stay healthy is kind of part of my job too."
"This is pretty important to them," head coach Kevin Tidey said. "Some of those guys that were spearheading it came back for their fifth year and they didn't really have to they could have been done, graduated, had jobs but it was pretty important to them to come back and see what we could do as a group one more time so I was definitely proud of them for spearheading it."
Vaccines are a hot-button issue and the Davenport baseball team is no exception, but that has not stopped the players from talking to teammates about getting it.
"If you go about it the right way and give your teammates your side of it and listen to their side as well, I think you can get guys to come from not wanting to get vaccinated over to the vaccination side," Bryant said. "It is a tough line to walk and you're not going to get everybody to do it, but the more the merrier."
The Panthers have three weeks left in the regular season starting with four games at home against Grand Valley State this weekend.