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Owls baseball takes a late summer finish

09/08/2010
By:

Jon Moreno

Sports Writer

Despite tying the program’s single-season record with 38 wins last season, the Owls baseball team was one more away from competing in the College World Series.

The Owls dropped a doubleheader to rival Franklin Pierce over the summer to prevent them from advancing after a historic season. They finished the year with a No. 20 national ranking.

The team was ranked second in the final New England Intercollegiate Baseball Association Division II poll of 2010.

Head Coach Tim Shea was named NCBWA Regional Coach of the year for the second time in the past three seasons, and senior second baseman Greg Malen was named ECAC Division II Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

Many more accolades were awarded to the Owls after last season but according to sophomore pitcher Tyler Albrecht, it does nothing to sweeten the bitter taste in the team’s mouth.

“The overall season last year I thought was excellent although it didn’t end the way we wanted it to which was rough,” said Albrecht. “We are motivated to come back this year and stay hungry for a World Series visit.”

Sophomore Michael Cleary posted a team-high .330 batting average last season, while Junior Ryan Geffert hit a team-leading 14 homeruns to accompany with another team-high 60 RBI. Malen hit with a .316 average to leverage the Owls all the way to the NCAA Division II East Region Championship.

The Owls also had 15 players who were named to the Northeast-10 Conference Commissioners’ Honor Roll during the course of the year. To receive such an honor, a student-athlete must have met/or exceeded a minimum 3.0 grade point average during the fall 2009 or spring 2010 semester.

The accomplishments are respectable but before the 2010 campaign, players had their mind set on getting the team past where it did this year.

“My expectations for this team couldn’t be higher,” Malen said prior to the season beginning. “I not only expect us to make the regionals, but move on to the World Series.”

To help ensure that the team will come back with a vengeance next season, players are taking initiative to become better for the Owls in 2011.

Junior pitcher Chris Zbin, who had a breakout year last season with seven wins, a 2.47 ERA and 101 strikeouts, said he is approaching the offseason with the memories of what happened last year.

“We are determined to get to where we were last year and do even better,” he said. “I’m going to work hard during the fall and work to be stronger and maybe find another pitch to work on for the spring.”

Albrecht, a freshman last year, said he is ready to take on a starting role. Albrecht only had two innings of work last season.

“Last year being a young pitcher, I was able to watch and learn from some of the older role models on the team and see what it takes to a not only be a starter, but a successful starter,” he said.

Despite the season being over, players still stay in touch said Zbin. He said most of the players texted or called each other over the summer.

A baseball summer newsletter is now available online on the Southern Athletics website. The newsletter includes announcements on the team throughout the semester with a look back at the team’s season in 2010.

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