Baseball team optimistic about upcoming season

With the start of the 2010 baseball season just two weeks away the team has high expectations. Jon Shehan is entering his third year as the Marauders head coach, and has the most experienced roster yet. The team is set to return five position starters and all six starting pitchers.

Shehan has completely revamped the team in his short time as the head coach. In his first year, in 2008, he was able to finish with a record of 24-26, in the previous year the team finished with a record of 9-37.

In 2009, the Marauders continued to improve and finished with a record of 25-24, bringing the team to their first winning record since 2001.

“Our goal and team philosophy is to focus on the process and meet our potential as a team. If we focus on ourselves, we should win more than we lose,” Shehan said.

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The Marauders were without senior center fielder Corey Phelan in 2009 due to a knee injury, however, his injury is healed and he is ready to get back to form.

In 2008 Phelan had a batting average of .429 when facing left-handed pitchers.

Phelan also received the Gold Glove award for his outstanding performance in the field.

“Injuries should be less of an issue this year because we will have quality players starting off the year on the bench. To be consistent, you have to have depth. Everyone will contribute eventually,” Shehan said. He also said that the team has no injuries thus far in their preparation for the season.

Another key player returning to the roster this season is junior Derek Kline.

Kline was drafted in round 34 of the MLB draft in June, but decided to return to the team adding to the already impressive list of returning players.

Kline led the team in numerous offensive categories in 2009, among them was his .393 batting average. Kline also became a star on the mound, even though he never pitched prior to the 2009 season.

In addition to the extensive list of returning players, Shehan is also keeping his eye on the position at third base.

The position is still up for grabs between freshmen Zach Stone and Jeff Heisey as well as senior Kent Geges who started 16 games in right field last season.

Another strength the team has on their side this season is the talent in the middle of the field. As previously mentioned Phelan is returning to center field, junior Ryan McCormick will be at short stop, and senior Miles Gallagher will be behind the plate at catcher.

“Having leaders in the middle should significantly bring up the play of those around them. Good teams are always strong in the middle,” Shehan said.

Despite having the most experience and depth in the roster in recent years, the team will have their hands full with a challenging schedule.

“Our conference and non-conference schedules are tough. Our goals are not to only win on Friday and Saturday but to also win mid-week. This team has a lot of confidence. They believe that their potential to play deep into the post season is good. In order to play in mid May, you have to win your mid week games too,” Shehan said.

The team will begin their 2010 season on the road with games in Georgia, West Virginia, and North Carolina. Their first home game is on Friday March 12 against nationally ranked West Chester, who won the PSAC Championship last season.