Baseball chemistry, depth to fuel 2018 season
Matt Gad – Sports Writer
Last season, the baseball team went 27-16- 1 but lost two out of their
final three regular-season games and their three post-season games, one in the NE10 Tournament
and the other two in NCAA Regionals.
“As a team we need to work on finishing the season,” senior co-captain Jim Palmer, a shortstop,
said. “Last year we were in first place, had the number one seed to host the tournament here and
we kind of fell off. We went to the regional flat, lost two games there. We need to have a strong
start and then finish the season strong.”
In that NE10 Tournament game at The Ballpark, Southern fell, 5-2, to Pace. After allowing the
Setters to get three runs in the first five innings, Griffin Garabedian hit an RBI single to score
Nolan Cloutier in the bottom half and then Ryan Kaplan scored Cloutier in the seventh.
However, Pace would tack two more on for the final. Their starter, Ryan Aquino, went a complete
game, allowing seven hits, two runs and two walks while striking out nine. They went on to lose
their next two games, since the conference tournament opener wasn’t double-elimination, 14-1 to
Franklin Pierce and then, in the championship game, 6-2 to the University of New Haven.
“All over we’re deeper than we’ve ever been,” head coach Tim Shea said, who’s entering his
16th season. “There’s a lot of depth on this year’s team and the chemistry’s been great. We’re
just trying to get as much time outside on the turf as we can before we head down to start the
With the frequent snow and cold temperatures, they have mixed their practices between the field
and the far end of the Moore Field House gymnasium. They’ll head for warmer weather as they
open their season Friday in Myrtle Beach, S.C, the start of four straight games to open play
before returning home for a series with Bridgeport beginning March 2.
“We’ve really excited; I know the guys are excited to start playing some other guys. We just
gotta stay healthy, throw strikes, trust our defense,” Shea said.
This year’s team will be without recent graduates who made key contributions last season, such
as Greg Zullo, Kyle Hart, Cole Bryant and Ryan Kaplan. However, they’ve brought on seven
freshmen, a graduate transfer and some other contributors who transferred in.
“Hopefully other guys can step up, like [Nick] Lamberti, who had a great year last year, [Griffin]
Garabedian who hit over .300, Palmer who was all-conference, Mike DeMartino who was all- conference, Criscolo who had a great year. I’m hoping those guys can really step up, maintain
and get better,” Shea said. “We have the guys back from last year but we also have a good
freshman class in, we have [graduate transfer] Sam Nepiarsky from UConn who moves right into
the rotation; there’s playing time to be had out there and that’s one good thing about having
depth – it forces everyone to work harder.”
Garabedian, the team’s other co-captain, an outfielder, said he’s looking forward to keeping the
same mentality of playing hard every day and just staying positive.
“You can’t get down. When we’re down we try to keep pushing forward,” he said. “Towards the
end last year I think a lot of our guys were feeling it; the games, all the practices – we had a
couple guys who had injuries throughout their careers. Now it seems like everyone’s healthy and
if we stay healthy we’ll be really good.”
Photo Courtesy: southernctowls.com