AUBURN | Only a few years into their professional careers, many of the Auburn Doubledays know what it means to win -- a lot.
More than a dozen players on the Doubledays roster spent time with the Gulf Coast League Nationals last season, who had one of the most dominating seasons in minor league baseball history.
"I'm all for winning being a part of player development," Doubledays manager Gary Cathcart said Wednesday after practice at Falcon Park. "I think if you're going to be a championship organization developing championship players, they need to learn what being a winning player means."
The GCL Nationals went on an 18-game winning streak, and at one point won 25 out of 26 games. They finished the regular season 49-9, 24.5 games ahead of the GCL Marlins.
"We had a lot of talent," said outfielder Garrett Gordon. "Our pitchers were really, really good. We really hit the ball and played as a team. We would pick each other up. If we had a bad inning or something, it wouldn't carry on. If we weren't hitting, someone would step up and do something.
"It always seemed like someone would rise to the occasion."
The GCL Nats swept their way through the three-game playoffs to the GCL championship.
"Everybody was together, we had a lot of teamwork together and everybody was on the same page," said infielder Jose Marmolejos, who batted .312 with the GCL Nationals last year. "Everybody was doing the little things, doing every single little detail."
Despite all the success, many of the players haven't experienced some of the frills of professional baseball -- playing under the lights or in front of a crowd.
With all games in the Dominican Summer League or Gulf Coast League played during the day, Cathcart scheduled a pair of night practices this week to get some of his players acquainted to playing under the lights.
With the first pitch less than 48 hours away, the excitement has been building for the Doubledays.
"I think guys will get really pumped up and have some adrenaline flowing," Gordon said.