Anthony Grasso, Staff Writer-
Tim Shea sat in his office on a Wednesday morning, conversing with his assistant coach about baseball operations.
Shea is the head coach of the Southern baseball team, and has coached the Southern Owls to four NCAA Tournament appearances and one World Series since his first year in 2002.
The Owls are currently ranked 23rd in the National College Baseball Writers Association’s recent poll.
“It’s nice to get some recognition,” Shea said. “I think the ranking is well deserved considering what we’ve done, and the players we have returning this season,” said Shea.
Shea said that the ranking is “something to motivate the team.”
“We’ve got to continue to work hard,” said Shea. “If we are going to do anything this year, our pitching needs to perform as it has in the past.”
The Owls ended their 2010 season with a loss in the Regional final to Franklin-Pierce University. Senior Kyle Rosadino is a captain and starting outfielder for the Owls.
“It’s an honor to be nationally ranked, but we can’t think too much into it,” said Rosadino. “We need to go out and play hard so we can get back to the regional finals and make it to the World Series.”
Rosadino was named All-Conference in the 2010 season, and finished the year with a .296 batting average, according to Southern’s athletic website.
“If everyone does their part, we will be fine,” Rosadino said. “My job is to keep the guys on track, and focused on getting to the World Series.”
Kyle Cummings is a junior transfer from UConn, Avery Point, where he was named All-American.
“I have experience and I know what it takes to win,” said Cummings. “I’m coming in here with a fresh start, and I want to prove what I can do.”
Cummings is starting at shortstop and batting in the lead-off spot for the Owls.
“Pitching is a vital part of our team,” said Cummings. “Our team has a winning attitude: we never give up.”
TK Kiernan, a freshman infielder for the Owls said “the competition is great,”
“It’s nice to be around other players who care about the game as much as I do,” he said.
“We have a solid team and our pitching is the strongest point. “Shea is a great coach, and an even better guy. He really cares and wants us to do well.”
Shea described what the Owls will need to do this season in order to be successful.
“We need to get more consistent with base-running and reads on balls in the dirt,” said Shea. “Executing small ball is important.”
“These guys know what it takes to get the job done,” Shea said. “They work well together and believe in each other.”
The Owls are 4-0 so far this season, beating Felician College and C.W. Post in double-headers last weekend.
Southern will play Nyack college on March 5, and face Merrimack College in a doubleheader the following day.
Shea said the Northeast-10 Conference is “extremely competitive.”
“There are no easy games, anybody can beat anybody,” said Shea.
“Our pitching needs to click, and we need to bring our A game to the table every time we step on the field.”