By Chris Koch
Prior to spring break, The Elm’s Chris Koch sat down with senior pitcher Michael Long of Shoremen baseball and talked about the upcoming season and some of his favorite tunes.
CK: What are the expectations as you guys head into the season?
ML: We just want to go out and compete to the best of our ability with whoever we’re playing against. If we go out there and execute we should have some success and hopefully improve from where we were last year.
CK: This is the first season with Head Coach Matt Reynolds at the helm. How are you guys meshing with the new coach?
ML: I think this year has been a fresh start for a lot of our guys. Coach Reynolds has fit in perfectly so far, and we’re really excited to play for him once games roll around. He’s brought great leadership and a winning mentality to this program, and I think I speak for everyone on the team in saying I’ve never learned more about baseball than I have throughout the fall and into our preseason.
CK: Your pitching coach, Ted Hurvul, stayed on the staff from last season. Does that help ease the transition period for you guys?
ML: Everyone was excited when we Head Coach Hurvul was staying around after all the coaching changes had taken place. He does a great job in preparing the pitching staff throughout the week and gets us ready for each game. There was a lot of change going on in the fall and everything seemed new at practice so it was nice having a familiar face to lead the staff.
CK: With the weather postponing a few of the team’s opening games. How have you guys been able to stay focused?
ML: It’s tough staying focused inside, but Coach Reynolds preaches about getting better everyday and working hard in order to achieve our goals, both individually and as a team. That being said, everyone is itching to get outside and we’re excited about our Spring trip to Myrtle Beach.
CK: Last season you guys led the conference in home runs and extra base hits. How much will you rely on your guys power at the plate this year?
ML: Losing Scott Matthews to injury definitely will take a toll on our offense, but we have other guys that have experience and success in the past, so it’s up to them to lead the offense. Coach Reynolds has emphasized the little things (base running, playing small ball), so we may have to rely more and execute more on that aspect of the game
CK: Where is the hardest place for you guys to play?
ML: Salisbury is usually a pretty tough place to play. We always have them scheduled early on in the season so in addition to dealing with the weather their infield is astro-turf and ground balls get to and past infielders a lot quicker. They have a great program down there as well so that’s definitely a tough matchup early in the season.
CK: What would your walk up song be?
ML: We get songs for pitching, usually played during warm up pitches before our first inning. Mine is “Kick it in the Sticks” by Brantley Gilbert. Pitchers get about a minute and a half for their song, so you have to pick something where the whole song fires you up rather than just a 10-second clip.