By Chrissy Segrest
Elm Staff Writer
The baseball team has high expectations for the season ahead, but some were worried about how they would get there.
“To be honest, we didn’t really know what to expect at first,” said junior captain Luke D’Ostilio.
Many players voiced their concerns to each other over the summer when they learned that former head Coach Matt Reynolds was taking the head coaching position at his alma mater, University of Massachusetts, a Division I school in Amherst, Mass. Coach Reynolds was elected the head coach for the Shoremen in 2014, and over the next three years would lead Washington College to the second highest wins they ever had in a season.
Over the summer, Cory Beddick was hired as the head coach. A former standout player at Centennial Conference opponent Gettysburg College, Beddick comes to WC from Hood College, where he turned their program around and won the Coach of the Year award in 2016.
“Once we got into the swing of things, we knew that Coach Beddick would be the guy that will lead us to success,” D’Ostilio said.
Spring athletes have the opportunity to prepare for their season with weight lifting and conditioning throughout the fall. Coach Jonnie Jenkins oversees all of the athletes lifting sessions in the morning. Lifting three days a week, and conditioning the other two is no easy task, but Jenkins said he believes the team is ready for the season because of their work ethic.
“The baseball culture in general truly embraces training and lifting, and our team is no exception,” Jenkins said. “This team especially has put in exceptional work the past six months that I hope it will pay dividends for them this season. The teams that put in the most volume, effort, and focus during training are the ones that are successful on the field. I know that they are feeling healthy, stronger and more confident than ever.”
The team has a roster of 37 men, 18 are freshmen or sophomores.
“The 2018 squad features a unique blend of veteran returners, and young guys looking to make their mark on the program. Offensively, we are looking to have some of our upperclassmen return to form after not playing up to their potential last season. Also, we have some young guys that we feel are ready to take that next step forward and are capable of handling an expanded role within our lineup,” Coach Beddick said.
Senior team captain Matt Tancredi was named to the 2018 NCAA DIII Players to Watch list, as well as sophomore Ryan Zwier.
“The group is led by senior captains Joe Lozupone, Nick Popolizio, PJ Mikulus, Matt Tancredi, and junior captain Luke D’Ostilio,” Beddick said.
Tancredi had a career high of a .315 batting average last season, as well as .415 on-base percentage. He knocked in 13 runs while at the plate and had nine doubles. Zwier lead the team in slugging percentage (.548), was tied for second on the team in batting average (.315), and home runs (3).
“Our offense will be fueled by seniors Tancredi, Ryan Donnelly and Evan Hirschbaum, junior Aaron Barclay, and sophomore Ryan Zwier. Our strength defensively should be in the middle of the infield with Lozupone, D’ostilio and freshman CJ Gillmer leading the way. We look for our defense, particularly in the infield to be one of our strengths on the team. Our pitching staff is extremely deep and is led by senior starters Mikulus and Brian Kasey, and senior relievers Sean Weiss, Popolizio, and Mike Bartels,” said Beddick.
The Shoremen are scheduled to play a rigorous 40-game schedule this spring, including a trip to Fort Pierce, Fla. over spring break. They will compete in 16 home games, starting on Saturday, Feb. 24 at noon against Lancaster Bible College in a double header.