CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 SPORTS) -- Brian O'Connor called Saturday's Step Up To The Plate event the official start of the Virginia baseball season. With the official start also came the induction of the newest class of Virginia baseball hall of famers.
More than 900 fans packed John Paul Jones Arena to meet this year's team, as well as see seven former Wahoos join the Hall of Fame.
Tim Burcham (1983-85), Phil Gosselin (2008-10), Brandon Guyer (2005-07), John Hicks (2009-11), Casey Lambert (2004-07), Steven Proscia (2009-11), and Mel Roach (1952-53) were this year's inductees. Those seven joined the inaugural 15 members inducted prior to last season.
"It was an honor just to come and play here," Hicks said, "then to get inducted into the hall of fame, with all of the great players that have come through here, all the players that were inducted last year, this class this year, its amazing."
"I was just trying to get on the field and help the team win a little bit and play," Gosselin said, "not let alone have something like this happen, but I think it just shows the culture that they've built here and coaches are so great, teammates, everybody, so there's a lot that goes into it, but definitely honored."
"You know, you look at the guys that went in in the first class and the guys that are going in this year, its special," Guyer added. "Its a great group. There are a lot of guys that will continue to go in that are very good players."
The current Virginia baseball team was treated to meeting baseball Hall of Famer John Smoltz prior to the event Saturday. Smoltz spent 21 seasons in the Major Leagues, 20 of which were with the Atlanta Braves.
Smotlz talked about failure to the Cavaliers, coming off their first season without a trip to the postseason in 15 years. He pointed to his 1991 season, when he was 2-11 at the All-Star break before rebounding in the second half to help lead the Braves to the World Series that year.
"To each and every one of them," Smoltz said, "wherever they came from, they understand the level of play that they are at. The level of play they are at, the goal is to get even better. I would have asked the same questions if I was in there shoes asking of a player who played for 21 years. Baseball's not quite the same as it once was, but it's still played in a level where there's a lot of chance to fail but there's also a lot of chance to learn and be successful."
The Cavaliers open the season with No. 1 Vanderbilt in Arizona on February 15.