By Pat Mariboe
Elm Staff Writer
After finishing last season with a 16-20 record, the Shoremen are hoping that first-year head Coach Matthew Reynolds can help the team find their winning form again. The Shoremen, who have failed to have a winning season since 2012, are returning senior captains Joe DiPaola, Scott Matthews, Dennis Thomas and junior captain Sam McGovern to help bring some experience and leadership to the 16 incoming freshman players. “We are looking forward to a new season of shoremen baseball. We have made a lot of changes under a fantastic new coaching staff and I fully anticipate it paying off this year and for the future of the baseball program. I expect big things this season with a very closely knit team and a team with lots of playing experience” said DiPaola. Last season, Matthews led the team with a .372 batting average and finished second on the team with 30 runs batted in. The Shoremen finished ninth out of 10 teams in the Centennial Conference last season, leading the conference in home runs with 15 and extra base hits with 109. Matthews will not be playing this season due to an arm injury. “Coach Reynolds is a well respected coach and he has the ability to take this program to new heights. I wish I had the opportunity to play for him this year because his coaching ability and baseball IQ are incredible. I believe WC baseball can be a winning program as long as we do not beat ourselves. In past years we have given away wins because of mental mistakes. If we stay focused on winning each game, we can be successful,” said Matthews.
When it comes to the starting lineup, freshmen Wes Robertson, Ben Nelson, Gavin O’Donnell, and sophomore Michael Mann will battle it out for the catcher position. At first base, senior Dennis Thomas should see a majority of playing time, while sophomore Evan Hirschbaum should see some considerable amount of time as well. Senior Brian Alexa is likely to start at second base, while redshirt freshman Matt Chapman, looks to get back into the lineup after missing all of last season with a knee injury. “Having torn my ACL last year, I am very excited to play my first collegiate season. I have worked tirelessly during the offseason and winter and hope to contribute to the team anyway that I can” he said. Freshman Joe Lozupone is set to start at shortstop, with junior Addison Hanscom and freshman Mike Pugh filling in for relief. Junior Garret Richardello and senior Kyle Mikula should both see some shared time at third base. At left field, sophomore Charlie Meder looks to get the nod, while junior Bryan Baquer moves from left field to centerfield to start out the season. Sophomore Logan Dubbe looks to get the start in right field this season as well. Freshman Ryan Donnelly, Dubbe, Hirschbaum, and Mikula will most likely see the most time at designated hitter.
“The transition from high school baseball to college baseball has been great so far,” freshman pitcher Mike Bartels said. “I enjoy learning more about the game everyday and being able to compete at a higher level.”
The Shoremen were slated to open their season at home with two double headers against D’Youville but those were cancelled. Games at Salisbury and against Keystone that were to be played this week have been postponed.
The Shoremen look to play their first game of the season on Mar. 8 against Staten Island in Myrtle Beach, S.C.