Colonel baseball set to take the field

Justin Franiak, Sports Editor

The grass is being mowed and the field is being raked to prepare for this year’s Colonel baseball squad  to march out for its 2012 campaign.
The Colonels are looking to improve their record of 21-16 from 2011, after losing a few key components from last year.
Returning to the team are athletes Tay Sidler and Matt Ruch, both of whom batted above the .330 mark, with Ruch recording 34 RBI’s. Sidler posted a .443 on base percentage in the 2011 campaign.
Infielder Carmen Lopresto also returns, bringing his 33 runs scored and .300 batting average from last year.
Senior business administration major and relief pitcher Mark Siebel is excited for new players this season.
“I’m excited to see how the freshmen do,” Siebel said.  “I’ve been impressed so far, I want to see them in conference play against tough opponents.”
Siebel said the freshmen have a good chance of starting and making a big impact on this year’s team.
Last year, the Colonels were 11-10 in the conference, and are looking to improve from that.
“We can improve everywhere,” Siebel said. “Hitting and pitching are areas where we can always improve.”
The Colonels return pharmacy major and starting pitcher Ryan Fetterman who led the team with a 3.26 ERA from last season. Fetterman also tacked on 11 batters struck out looking. Senior Sean Flecknoe led the team with 13 batters struck out looking last season.
Senior history and secondary education major Mike “Snail” Olerta say the preseason is going well. When asked what the purpose of the long preseason is, Olerta said many thing are involved.
“Getting and shape and staying focused is what we need to work on now for the season,” Olerta said.
Olerta, along with others,  will look to spark the Colonels offensively this season.
The team will soon leave on its annual spring training trip to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Siebel and Olerta both said the trip is fun and enjoyable. The team bonding is a key component of the trip.
Senior business administration major and Colonel infielder Tom Plessl also commented about playing on the turf in South Carolina.
“There’s not bad hops, which helps everybody,” Plessl said.
Personal goals are a part of every team season, and the Colonels are no different.
Siebel is within grasp of the appearance record and saves record and hopes to break both of those. Plessl is at 79 games played and his goal is to reach 100. Olerta would like to break the .300 average this season.
A major team goal for the season is making a playoff run, according to Siebel.
“If you make the playoffs anything can happen,” Siebel said. “The ultimate goal is to win the MAC.”
Olerta said that there is always room for improvement, and with improvement comes that coveted playoff run. Olerta said it boils down to one thing.
“Winning,” Olerta said. “Winning and hitting, I think we have a good team this year.”
Siebel summed up his biggest fear for the season simply.
“I hope my curveball works,” Siebel said.