Spring Sports Preview: Baseball
Written by The Flat Hat|
March 25, 2008
After posting a 29-25 record and missing the CAA Tournament by a mere one-and-a-half games one season ago, a young Tribe baseball team departed Williamsburg, disappointed by their near playoff miss.
p. A year later, that same squad has returned to Plumeri Park as a cohesive, veteran unit, eager for a breakout campaign and a return to the playoffs.
p. “Our goal is to win the CAA championship, and we feel we have the team to do it,” senior catcher Tim Park said.
p. Through 24 games, that lofty goal seems reachable, as a confident team has ridden a powerful offense to a 16-8 mark, posting a 7-5 conference record to sit securely in fourth place at the midpoint of the CAA season.
p. Despite the loss of third-team All-American Greg Sexton, the squad has maintained last season’s high-powered, run-scoring output behind the hot bats of Park and junior first baseman Mike Sheridan. With the aid of an outfield that includes senior Greg Maliniak and juniors Ben Guez and Robbie Nickel, the team is currently leading the CAA in batting average.
p. Senior Pete Vernon spearheads the Tribe’s young contingent on the hill, posting a 3-1 record on the young season, while freshman Tim Norton and sophomore Cody Winslow have both shown great potential in rounding out the starting rotation.
p. Yet, despite the team’s success, Head Coach Frank Leoni has kept the team grounded in his third season at the helm.
“We’ve got a long way to go, and everything that we need to do moving forward is to improve,” Leoni said. “It’s about going out and winning baseball games, and our guys are very hungry to do that.”
p. The College continues its journey toward the CAA Tournament this weekend, hosting conference opponent the University of Delaware Blue Hens in a three-game series at Plumeri Park. The Tribe will step outside the CAA tonight at 7 p.m. when it travels to face Virginia Military Institute.
p. Mike Sheridan
p. One year removed from a sophomore campaign in which he statistically was the nation’s toughest player to strike out, junior first baseman Mike Sheridan has fostered an offensive explosion, leading the team with a .458 batting average, seven home runs and 36 RBIs at the midpoint of the season. Stepping into the third spot in the batting order vacated by the departing third-team All-American Greg Sexton, Sheridan has fully embraced the role of offensive playmaker, sparking the Tribe to lead the CAA in both batting average and runs scored.
p. “He refuses to go down on strikes and that is what we’re all about,” senior catcher Tim Park said.