Two days away from opening day for the Quad Cities River Bandits. After an adversity filled 2022 season finishing 54 and 78, the team’s outlook for this year is high.

The River Bandits have many key returners including their top hitter, second baseman Herard Gonzalez and top slugger, right fielder Juan Carlos Negret.

Manager Brooks Conrad said, in his second year under the helm, it’s not all about the wins and loses, but more about learning from failures and developing.

“They have all the freedom in the world to fail and that is the best part. We want to give them the freedom to go play ball,” Conrad said. “Put some signs up on offense for steals and delayed steals. Bunts and stuff but I think that’s an extremely powerful tool to give them. The ability to learn by failure. That’s great because it’s how they grow and learn.”

Were hungry, hungry for a good year. Really go out and dominate,” pitcher Noah Cameron said. We have a lot of new guys. Young guys who will just go out and have fun. Get the fire back that we all have. That love for baseball.”

Last year the season showed us it was a marathon and not a sprint. We have to stay humble and stay confident,” catcher Kale Emshoff said. “Just keep moving forward even when you have the bad times because it’s baseball. Everyday is not going to be perfect so you have to push through those times and take it one day at a time. Pick your wins whenever you get them.”

These guys are great. They’ll let you play lose and have fun,” Royals top prospect Gavin Cross said. “Just go out there and don’t worry about anything. Keep your head down, go out. Play the game you’ve always played and have a good time.”

“We’re not worried about what happened last year,” Royals number five prospect Cayden Wallace said. “We’re just excited to get going. Excited to meet the fans and we just want to win. “

First pitch Friday night is at 6:30 at Modern Woodmen Park against the South Bend Cubs.