By Louis Galdos
Elm Staff Writer
The Shoremen baseball team has been under new guidance when they hired first-year assistant coaches Pat Lemmo, and Cooper Belyea. Before coming to Washington College both coaches played baseball at Ithaca College.
Lemmo was hired as the pitching coach, he graduated in May 2013. During his collegiate career, Lemmo received All-American accolades as a pitcher, and was named All-Empire-Eight Conference Pitcher of the Year, and was selected as a first-team selection to the All-Star team. After graduating he went on to pitch for the Alpine Cowboys of the Pecos Professional Baseball League and the Sonoma Stompers of the Pacific Association of Professional Baseball. He also coached youth baseball at both Ithaca College and for the CNY Baseball Warehouse program.
“As the pitching coach, my first goal was to take this fall to get to know the players on the team, both as players and as young men. If I can connect with them on an individual level, I can better guide them and instruct them on the field,” he said.
Lemmo complimented last year’s pitching staff calling it “one of the best, in the Centennial Conference.” He wants to continue that reputation this season.
“So, the goals for this season are to continue to improve on an already talented and successful pitching staff, and for each player to do their part in furthering the success of the team. It’s long overdue and these men work hard every day towards the goal of bringing the Centennial Conference Trophy to Chestertown.”
As any athlete or coach will tell you, it is what athletes do in the offseason that makes champions, and WC is no exception.
“I made a winter throwing program for the offseason that would allow the pitchers to come back ready to work…. They put in the time in the weight room with Coach Jonnie Jenkins and Coach Jake Alvarez, and they put in the time on the mound.”
Like Lemmo, Belyea also played baseball for Ithaca College. Before graduating in 2015, Belyea started as a catcher, and received All-Empire-Eight honors in his junior year. Directly post-graduating, Belyea spent the 2016 baseball season as an assistant coach and junior varsity head coach at his alma mater. He mainly coached the catchers on their positional development, assisted with daily coaching duties, and aided in recruiting. As junior varsity head coach, he ran all aspects of the Bombers’ junior varsity program. During the summer of 2016, Belyea served as an assistant coach with the Newark Pilots of the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League.
“I was hired to work with the position players. I was a catcher when I played, so I will be working closely with those guys. We’ve got three catchers on the roster right now, all very hard working guys and I’m looking forward to seeing the progress we’ve made since the fall,” he said. “We had a very successful off-season. Our fall practices were very high energy. Guys were working hard and pushing each other,” he said.
He commended the team’s strength and conditioning coaches. “We have a great strength staff that stays on the players and pushes them to grow as players,” he said.
The success for the team this season will be due to the strength and conditioning program.
“So far in the first few weeks, we can see a huge improvement in strength and overall conditioning with our guys which will be huge as we start playing 4-5 games a week,” he said.
Since the regular season consist of 25 games, fitness of individual players is a major key to the overall success of the team.
“I think the first goal would be to make the conference playoffs. We’ve come close the past couple of years, we just need to take it game-by-game to reach that level we need to get there. We’ve got the talent and the attitude to reach new heights for this program. We’ve just got to get out and execute the way we know we can,” Belyea said.