Baseball returns to campus with young roster
Mike Neville – Contributor
The presence of robins and the blossoming of spring flowers can only mean one thing: baseball is back at Southern.
Finishing fourth in the NE10 Southwest Division in 2019 with a 20-28 record, Southern is once again picked to finish fourth in a poll conducted by the NE10 with Adelphi picked to finish at the top of the division. This statistic did not sit well with catcher and captain Mike DiMartino.
“I don’t agree with the polls at all. We have a tough pitching staff and a great group of hitters,” said DiMartino, a senior. “They don’t know what we’re bringing this year.”
Entering his final year with Southern, DiMartino said that he strives to hit over .300 along with few home runs, although the team’s success is the number one thing on his mind.
In the eyes of head coach Tim Shea, a successful season is already in the making thanks to 11 new players, all of whom are freshman.
“If our first game against Florida International was any indication, we’ll do a pretty good job,” said Shea. “We had three freshmen play positionally and they went 7-for-8 on the day, including Zach Healy who drove in the winning run.”
Another name that comes to mind is that of freshman pitcher Zach Bedryczuk, who tallied two doubles in the game at Florida International, which lead to being named NE10 Rookie of the Week.
“He competes day in and day out,” said Shea. “He’s very versatile and gives us some flexibility to find out what works best for us.”
Captain John Spoto, a senior and four-year player, mentioned infielder Anthony Zambuto, a junior who was hurt most of last season but still was able to put up stolen base numbers in the mid-20’s.
“Our infield this year is very young but Zambuto is a quick guy who can play second base and steal a lot of bases for us this year,” said Spoto.
Having almost half the team as freshmen is very reassuring to an Owls team who lost key pieces of the lineup to graduation in outfielder Nick Lamberti, infielder Jim Palmer and first baseman Tyler Crisco.
Shea said senior Connor Redahan, who was a Second Team AllConference Select as a third baseman and right fielder, is someone he expects to fill the void left in the lineup. After hitting a home run at Florida International, Shea said it looks as if everything is falling into place.
First baseman and pitcher Jack Drewry, another freshman, provides some pop from the left side standing at 6’3 210 pounds.
Perhaps the biggest asset to the team for the 2020 season is the players on the mound, who have improved greatly in eyes of Shea.
“I’m most impressed with our pitching staff. You really need pitching to win which is going to be important for us moving forward,” said Shea.
In terms of improvement, driving in runs and avoiding leaving runners in scoring position is something that Spoto says him and the team need to work on.
“We had to drive runners’ home, we left a lot of guys on in our game in Florida, getting in those positions and hitting our spots is a must,” said Spoto.
In live at bats, hitting the ball hard and making more productive outs are a few of the traits captains Spoto and DiMartino agree are a necessity moving forward.
With the first home game against the University of Bridgeport on Saturday, Spoto said he is eager to see where the season goes, and said this team has the most talent which could lead to a championship.
“We have driven guys, they want to be here, they’re giving it their all-in practices,” said Spoto. “I think we have the potential to be the last team standing at the end.”
Photo Credit: Southernctowls.com