Ready, Set, PLAY BALL! Baseball gears up for the season ahead

Ready, Set, PLAY BALL! Baseball gears up for the season ahead

Allison Case '14, Asst. Sports Editor

Although the snow is still rapidly falling in Syracuse, the Le Moyne baseball team has been preparing non-stop for the spring weather to arrive and the baseball season to begin.

With three scrimmages in the books and a trip down south next week, the squad is ready and raring to begin another successful season, hopefully ending in a National Championship.

Coming off their season-ending loss to Merrimack in the NE-10 Conference Championship in 2013, the Dolphins are looking to improving on last season’s 25-24 final record. With six of the nine starters from last year graduated, including Vincent Redmond, Zack Wiley and Kody O’Connor, the team had serious voids to fill this offseason. Not only did they lose several graduating seniors, they also lost current senior Pat Wiese from playing on the diamond due to his recent diagnosis of bone cancer.

“Losing Pat was a big blow for us, not only because of his baseball skills but because of his leadership on the field,” Head Coach Scott Cassidy said. “He led even as a junior last year so it’s going to be tough to replace him.”

Wiese and fellow senior Nate Reynolds will take over the leadership role on the squad, which is stacked with young and talented players.

“We expect to be successful this year and hopefully being youthful is a strength because everyone is eager to win,” Captain Reynolds said. “Being young, teams around the conference may think that we are rebuilding so it’s going to be fun playing that underdog role.”

“I expect them to compete and hopefully we’ve prepared them to compete right away,” Cassidy said about the abundance of freshmen and sophomores. “They’re athletic, but it’s just a matter of making their athleticism work during the games. We’re looking for them to make immediate impacts. I know it’s a lot to ask for, but with us being so young, we kind of have to make that happen for us.”

With a trip planned to Georgia this upcoming weekend and another to North Carolina for the Riverside Spring Classic the following weekend, the Dolphins are eager to put their skills to the test in several non-conference games. These games will give the Dolphins a chance to play outdoors, as Syracuse has denied them of that pleasure this year.

“It’s good to get outside, but it doesn’t help us right away because we’ll be playing teams who have already been outside,” Cassidy said. “This year has been tougher than most because it has been so cold and we can’t even go out to get fly balls and stuff, but we look like we’re ready to go. We still have to fine tune a few things, but the guys have been playing hard and are chomping at the bit to get out of here, get outdoors and start playing some baseball.”

The squad has some rebuilding to do this season, but the mentality is always the same: compete and get to the National Championship. This year, however, the mentality is not just about winning, but performing for each other.

“Not having Pat as part of the team on the diamond changes our dynamic on the field but with the guys being able to see him and how he keeps them motivated will hopefully be the dynamic of this team,” Cassidy said. “Obviously we want to win and we hope we can go out on top and make it a memorable experience for him even though he can’t be on the diamond. We’ll play hard every day and give it what we’ve got.”

The baseball team has a lot to look forward to this season. The squad was selected by a group of NE-10 Conference coaches to finish second in the Southwest Division and will open up the season on March 22nd against Saint Anselm College. Not only do the Dolphins look forward to playing ball, they also look forward to play for the fans.

“I think I am most looking forward to is our hill crew,” Reynolds said of the upcoming season. “They do an unbelievable job and it is so much fun playing at home. The atmosphere at Dick Rockwell Field is better than anywhere else we play and is the hardest place to play in the NE-10, no question about it. The atmosphere you guys create is probably my favorite thing about playing for Le Moyne.”