The Colonels look to improve from their 14-21 record last season going 6-15 in league play. They are starting the season ranked fifth in the latest Freedom Conference Preseason Coaches’ Poll. However, many players on the team do not agree with their ranking this season.
“We’re going to disprove the doubters,” junior outfielder Tom Ring said. “To me, ranking us only 5th in the pre-season poll is just another motive to show our competitors where we stand.”
The Colonel’s return a majority of last years lineup including seniors Stephen Ruch and Bobby Schappell. Ruch, Schappell and sophomore Matt Kaster were all named All-Freedom Honorable Mentions last season and will look to carry the team to the playoffs this season.
The team members, who began practicing in the beginning of February, are hoping all their hard work pays off.
As sophomore Johnny Jan said quoting Derek Jeter, “There may be people with more talent than you but there is no excuse for anyone to work harder than you.”
Jan, like many others, believes that they will surprise some people this season.
“I think we should be good this season. We have a pretty young team led by a few older guys on the team,” said Jan. “We are confident in our abilities. We have goals as a team and we will reach these goals.”
Ring is excited for this year’s season. He returns to the outfield this season after an injury to his arm during the offseason prevented him from being able to pitch this season.
When asked about his injury, Ring responded, “After tearing my UCL (a major ligament used in the throwing motion) this summer, I have started to focus more on outfield and hitting rather than pitching. I’m disappointed because I love pitching, but am willing to sacrifice it if it means I’ll get to play the rest of my college career without any arm problems.”
Junior corner infielder Ryan Herbst also had something to say regarding the team’s preseason rank. “ I think that as a team we are expecting to do big things. We definitely have the talent and mindset to be the best in our conference this season.” The junior slugger had two home runs last seasons and will look to add to that number this season.
The Colonels open up their season on Feb. 21 in Virginia where they will face off against Alvernia University. They will also be making their annual spring break trip this season, where they will play five games in Fort Pierce, Fla. Freedom Conference games begin March 13 against cross-town rival King’s College.