Men’s baseball off to their best start since 2009 championship season
Published: Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, March 20, 2012 15:03
The men’s baseball is off to a solid start after their Florida road trip. The abysmal 0-3 start against Stevens Institute of Technology (doubleheader) and SUNY college at Maritime was avenged after a Florida road trip where Baruch won five out of eight games, including two games where the Bearcats overcame double digit deficits to haul in the victory. One has to go back to the 2009 season when Baruch won the CUNY Championship to find such a strong start to the season.
But Coach Jose Torres was not happy after the first three games prior to the Florida road trip. “We made some mental mistakes that we covered a lot of the time in practices,” he said. “They must have had a mental breakdown, I was disappointed in that and also in our lack of hitting.”Team captain and senior Thomas Daly, who saw his Baruch Bearcats go 0-4 for the first time in his college career blamed the difficult transition from indoor practice to playing games outdoors for the team’s struggles. “We weren’t clicking as a team right off the bat, since we practice in a gym,” said Daly. “It’s hard to come out strong for the first game against a tough opponent such as Stevens Tech.”
The improvements didn’t come until the team went down to Florida to be able escapethe cold New York weather. Freshman Steve Engelman was ecstatic about the opportunity to travel to Florida. “I think it’s great,” he said. “Up here, it’s cold, it’s not really baseball weather but we’re doing our best with it. In Florida we have great weather, good competition and it made us a lot better as a team.”The Bearcats started their eight game road trip by losing to Emerson and then split a double header against SUNY College at Plattsburgh.
According to Daly, Baruch had a team meeting after that game, which motivated them to play better. “After we split to Plattsburg in Florida we sat down as a team and tried to focus on the positives and asked each individual what they want out of this year, the responses were very strong and inspiring,” Daly said. “We left the meeting with a new head on our shoulders and new more focused mentality.”The next day featured one of the more memorable games in school history. The Bearcats came back from 12-0 to win 14-13, it was the biggest comeback in school history. “I would say that so far was the turning point of our season,” said Daly.
Baruch went on to win three out of the four next games including another double digit comeback against Skidmore. “We went 5-3 in Florida and proved to a lot of people that we are for real,” Daly added.Daly has high expectations for this season. He took his coach’s mantra, that anyone can beat anyone, to heart. “My expectations this year is to win every game we play, easier said than done,” he said. “But as coach Torres says, ‘there’s a reason we play the game, anyone can be beat on any day.’ I try to tell my guys hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard. We need a pit bull mentality whenever you step on the field.”
Engelman agrees that the team has come together and is playing much like a championship caliber team despite the struggles before the Florida road trip. “We’re looking good. The first couple of games before Florida, we were looking a little shaky. We had all the pieces to the pieces but they weren’t fit together. But in Florida, in that one week, we just came together. We had a couple of comebacks and everything went well.”He pointed to pitcher Paul Perez and the captains, Daly and Steve Hession as three players who performed remarkably well in the beginning of the season.
Daly was modest about his own performance: “Personally I did okay,” he said. ”But there are a lot of things i can improve on, myself or anyone on the team cannot continue to leave runners on base especially in scoring position and just try your best to put the ball in play.”Daly was a part of the 2009 Baruch team that won the CUNY Championship, while he has difficulties comparing this edition of the team to the one from 2009, he still feels like this year’s team is very strong.
“Its hard to compare this team to the 09 team, that team was special in many ways,” he said. “But this team this year is also very special I think we have a great group of guys, a lot of talented hitters and we have much more depth in the bullpen than we ever had in my four years here. This team can do great things if we keep it together and have trust in one another from the coaches down to the bench players.”