2013 Baseball Preview
Coast Guard will look to bounce back from a disappointing 2012 season when the team finished 14-21 overall and 6-12 in New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) after going 21-16 and advancing to the semifinals of the ECAC New England tournament in 2011.
The Bears return 14 seniors and a pair of juniors as the team looks to bounce back from a sub-par performance last season. Coast Guard returns its top six hitters and pitchers from last season.
"Last season was a huge disappointment after winning 21 games in 2011," said Coast Guard head coach C.C. Grant. "We didn't grow, we regressed as players because our guys stopped taking coaching advice and that hurt us. This year, our players have been responding to what the coaches are saying and whether we continue to do that will be a huge factor in if we have success this season."
The Bears top five pitchers are all seniors. Tri-captain Derek Petty (2-5, 4.55), Riley Beecher (2-3, 5.54) and Nate Toll (2-4, 7.15) are the top three starters while Curt Barrett and Tyler Vieira, the Bears all-time leader with 14 saves, will lead the bullpen.
Sophomores Anthony Martin, Tony Buzzini and Andrew Lucak will also be counted on to give quality innings this season while sophomore Dylan Wright along with freshmen Sean Barry and Kyle Wood could make contributions on the mound this season.
"We were hurt last season by not making key pitches when we needed to walking way too many batters," said Grant. "There were games were we pitched very well, but then we didn't hit, there were times where our approach at the plate was horrible. We need to play a more complete game to be successful."
Seniors Nolan Gallagher (RF), Ed Sella (CF) and Eric Gerken (LF) all return in the outfield. Sella, who missed 15 games last season, led the team with a .373 batting average while Gallagher was second on the team hitting .341 and was tied for the team lead with 25 RBI's. Gerken (.219) made 26 starts in left field last season.
"Gallagher has looked great in the preseason, we need to keep Sella, who was so steady last season, healthy and really the key is for Gerken, to have a solid season, we need him on base. Gerken has the most speed and baseball smarts on the team and we need him to have a bounce back season," said Grant.
Junior Lukas Laplante, who makes the move from catcher, sophomore Dan Sabourin and freshman Ed Lazowski will all backup in the outfield.
"A lot of young guys will need to develop all over the diamond this season with half of our team graduating," said Grant.
A pair of senior tri-captains will anchor the infield in Tyler Babkiewich (.314) at second base and Joe Petry (.310), the Bears best defensive infielder back at shortstop. Babkiewich led the Bears with 11 doubles last season and was tied for the team lead with 25 RBI's.
Senior Mike Massaro (.190), who will look to bounce back from a subpar 2012 season, will see time at both second base and as the designated hitter. Massaro hit .328 and led the team with 31 RBI's in 2011. Freshman Mark Behne will also battle for time at second base.
Juior Dave Wolinski (.299) is back at first base while sophomore Blake Thompson (.280), who made six starts last season, will start a third base this season.
Freshman Cory Sonnega will backup at first base while sophomore Matt Hanks will compete for time at both first and third base this season.
"Third base is a position where we can improve a lot over last season," said Grant. "We didn't get much offense at that spot a year ago and I believe Blake can provide that for us."
Senior Cameron Carroll (.274) and sophomore Tim Betts, who makes the move from the infield, and has been a pleasant surprise behind the plate in the preseason, will split the catching duties.
"If there is ever a year for us to have a great season, this is it with the huge senior class and some good young talent added to the mix," said Grant. "The schedule will be very difficult as it always is playing in the NEWMAC with Wheaton, ranked first nationally in the preseason poll. Last year, we didn't get any better and everyone else did, but this team is built to compete and we will work every day to get better."