Owls head to Florida to kick off 2015 baseball season
Jared Klim – Special to the Southern News
It’s that time of the year for America’s pastime on the campus of Southern Connecticut State University.
The Owls kick off the season down south in Miami Shores, Fla. against Barry University. The Owls last year finished with 24 wins 15 losses and a tie, which was good enough for first place and the southwestern division title in the Northeast-10 Conference. The Owls had eight players on the NE-10 all conference team last season, including former pitcher Rocco Cundari, who signed a free agent contract with the Atlanta Braves.
So there are big expectations for this Owls squad that captured another NE-10 southwestern division title this season.
“Obviously every teams expectation is to win we wanna go as far as we can regionals, World Series, even the NE-10 division, win the conference all that,” said senior captain Brandon Docimo.
Along with third baseman Docimio, the other captains for this year’s squad are fellow seniors second baseman Nick Baviello and starting pitcher Pat Egan.
Owls have 18 members returning from a season ago, so the bar is set high by head coach Tim Shea. Shea said that he expects even more from his team coming into this new season.
“The goal each and every year is to win the conference regular season and get selected for the NCAA regionals,” he said. “And play well enough and have a little fortune to get back to a College World Series and compete for a national championship so those expectations never change.”
As for the players, Owl fans should look out for in the 2015 season Shea said that the team is a well-rounded group.
“Well we got a mixture of guys,” he said. “Some veteran guys that are returning that we count on some big things from guys like Nick Baviello, one of our captains and all-Region performer and Matty Burns our centerfielder was all-Conference.”
This season both Burns and Baviello were both named to the preseason all-Region team.
Shea said that he is expecting a strong year from the Owls’ pitching staff. Southern has several starters returning and are looking to boast one of the more formidable pitching staffs in the conference.
“Our [pitching] staff is really strong as well with Pat Egan and A.J. Turnier as seniors leading the way,” he said. “Mike Yernia who was all conference as a reliever is now into the rotation.”
Even among this group of veterans, the Owls added 10 new players to the roster during the offseason, including four transfers and six freshmen. Sophomore McNeill Finnegan and junior Jason Harper are two of the new players for Shea. Freshmen Jake Santamaria and Griffin Bremer are looking to add a breath of air as they start their Owls’ careers.
“We have confidence in every guy on our staff,” he said. “As well as positionally and those guys know when they get their name called we expect them to come in a do the job.”
Photo Credit: Joel Dinda