Coast Guard coming off a school-record 24 wins and the program's first ever berth in the ECAC tournament championship game, must replace seven position players, that started at least 27 games a year ago as well five of its top pitchers, that all graduated following the record breaking season.
The team had 14 seniors last season, most of whom started as freshmen and left with their names all over the Coast Guard record books.
"That group of seniors last year is tough to replace they enjoyed a lot of success during their four years here," said Coast Guard head coach C.C. Grant. "I am not going to live in the past however and I am looking to the future. We are young, but we have a lot of talent on this team these players are going to get an opportunity to earn a spot in the lineup this season."
Junior Matt Hanks (.272) and sophomore Mark Behne (.221) are the only two players that return that started over 20 games last season. Senior co-captain Dave Wolinski (.345), who made just nine starts last season, will be a key addition to the Bears every day lineup in 2014.
Wolinski will start first base, Hanks will be the starting second baseman while Behne will start at shortstop. Sophomore Kyle Wood (.250), who started eight games last year will start at third base and is also one of the Bears top pitchers. Freshman Matt Devlin will start at the hot corner when Wood takes the mound.
Senior co-captain Lukas Laplante, who was a catcher for his first two seasons, but played in the outfield last year, makes the move back behind the plate as the Bears top three catchers from last season are gone.
Junior Danny Sabourin will also see time behind the plate as well as in the outfield for the Bears this season.
Junior Blake Thompson, who made 13 starts mostly at third base last season, will start in center field. Sophomore Ed Lazowski will start in left while freshman Kyle Jackson will start in right field.
"Having Dave Wolinski back in the lineup every day will be a big boost to our team," said Grant. "We have some guys with experience that are going to be counted on much more than they have been in the past. As young as are, I'm hoping that we can make strides as the season progresses and we are playing our best baseball in late April."
Wood (2-1, 3.22) is the only pitcher returning that threw over 16 innings. He made five starts last season and will be a key to the Bears rotation. Junior Andrew Lucak (0-0, 3.45), who made eight appearances out of the bullpen last season along with freshman southpaw Colton Cannon will lead the Bears rotation.
Thompson has looked good in the preseason and is line to take over the role as the Bears closer while junior Dylan Wright, sophomore Sean Barry along with a pair of newcomers, junior Joe Kelly and freshman Luke Sniatkowski are expected to see time on the mound this season.
Wolinski, junior Louis Simione along with freshmen Eric Vrissis and Justin Rebholz will add depth to the Bears pitching staff.
"We are going to have a lot of different lineups throughout the season and the guys who perform are going to stay on the field," said Grant. "Our goal, as it is every year, is to qualify for the NEWMAC tournament. I'm hoping to go .500 or better on our spring trip in Fort Myers, learn a lot about our team and be ready to be competitive each time we step on the field when we return north and being conference play. I hope that we get better each time out and that we are playing our best baseball in late April."
Coast Guard will open the season on March 1st vs. Merchant Marine in a doubleheader at Baseball Heaven in Yaphank, N.Y. before heading south to Fort Myers for eight games at the Gene Cusic Classic beginning March 8th.
TO VIEW 2014 BASEBALL ONLINE MEDIA GUIDE CLICK HERE
April 25, 2014 McNeil’s Homer Not Enough as Bears are Swept by Gordon
April 12, 2014 Bears Rally for Wild Win to Salvage Split with WPI
April 7, 2014 Bears Downed by Owls, 3-2
April 4, 2014 Laplante, Bullpen Rally Bears Past Springfield, 8-6
April 2, 2014 Bears Take Bite Out of Buccaneers
March 15, 2014 Bears Give Grant 100th Win in Florida Finale
March 14, 2014 Bears Rally for Wild Win to Salvage Split with Defiance
March 12, 2014 Bears Have Big First Inning and Ride Vrissis' Arm to Victory
March 10, 2014 Baruch Scores Nine in 7th to Beat Bears 11-5
March 9, 2014 Bears Drop Pair to Salve in Fort Myers
March 1, 2014 Bears Swept to Open Season
February 28, 2014 2014 BASEBALL SEASON PREVIEW