Owls baseball ready for 2017 season
Michael Aporia – Special to the Southern News
Following a 2016 season plagued by injuries and one-run losses, head baseball coach Tim Shea said the Owls are coming into the season more experienced and ready to compete at their highest level of play.
“I’m very excited,” said Shea. “Last year we battled through injuries for the better half of the season and we were young. We have a lot of our guys healthy and we’re excited about where we’re heading.”
Last season the Owls held a final record of 16-25-1. While they had a losing record overall, the Owls played superb on their home field, finishing the season with a 6-3-1 home record. Shea said that playing in front of the home crowd is a benefit they are looking forward to taking advantage of.
“We definitely like playing in front of our fans,” said Shea. “Last season we were on the road more than half the time, because of that we have a few more home games this year.”
Playing home games means a lot for coaches and players. It means less travel, more rest and being close to home. Outfielder and UConn Transferee, Nick Lamberti, said playing at home means his family and friends get to see him play the game he loves.
“There is nothing better than being home,” said Lamberti. “I honestly think transferring from UConn last season was one of the best decisions I ever made.”
Lamberti said that he is entering the 2017 season anxious, yet, composed.
“I have a high level of confidence this year,” said Lamberti. “Not just for myself, but for the team. To be honest with you, I think this is the year we’re going to do something.”
Shea said that he too is expecting big things from Lamberti in his second season for the Owls.
“I expect him to have a great year,” said Shea. “He is a sparkplug kind of player. There’s no battle too big for him.”
Additionally, Shea said that it takes trust and leadership to take that next step as a team.
“We need a lot of guys to step up,” said Shea. “We’re led by two great seniors, third baseman Greg Zullo and pitcher Cole Bryant. There is a good nucleus of guys returning and we added a few new guys.”
Shea said with the team is close to full health and with the addition of a few new players; he believes the Owls are ready to make a splash in NE-10.
“The experience is the biggest factor,” said Shea. “We have a lot more team speed and I expect us to play very good defense and pitch well. It’s a tough conference, but I think these guys are hungry and ready to turn the corner.”
Shea said that he expects his player’s hunger to win to be the driving force to propel the Owls over the competition this season.
“These guys want it,” said Shea. “If they can do what I feel they’re capable of doing we’re going to be in the hunt for a championship.”
Photo Courtesy: SCSU Athletic Communications