When a new season starts, there’s always a theme. For the Plattsburgh State baseball team, the theme is rebuilding.
Last season, the Cardinals finished fifth in the SUNYAC standings, missing the playoffs for the third consecutive year. Now in 2016, PSUC is determined to build as a whole and try to make the playoffs.
The Cards have 12 new additions to this year’s team, including seven freshmen, and PSUC head coach Kris Doorey said this adds an interesting element to the beginning of the season.
“Starting this season is exciting because we have a lot of new faces,” Doorey said. “We are definitely in a rebuilding phase, but we knew that going into the season. At the end of the day, if everyone does what they are expected to do and does what we know they can, then it will be successful.”
One of the biggest changes for the Cards this season compared to last will be their offense. Doorey said PSUC possessed a lot of extra-base power throughout the lineup a year ago, but acknowledged the team is not built like that this season.
Because of the lack of power, the Cards will be using a small-ball mentality, and PSUC will not be afraid to do things a little differently, aiming to manufacture offense.
“We are going to have to steal when people don’t steal and bunt when people don’t bunt,” Doorey said. “We are going to try triple steals, bunt-and-runs and hit-and-runs. There are going to be times where we as a baseball team are going to do things that you are not going to see in a Major League Baseball game or even a high-level college baseball game.”
With this small-ball approach, pitching will be important for PSUC as they try to limit the number of runs scored by opponents, and Doorey acknowledged pitching will be one of the team’s strengths this season.
Senior pitcher Scott Orr noted that the pitching staff wants to keep the Cards in games as much as possible and pinpointed one trait he believes all the pitchers possess that could lead to success.
“We just have a lot of guys who can compete,” Orr said. “The one word that comes to mind is competitive.”
The Cards have already started their season, traveling to play games in Long Island, South Carolina and Florida. PSUC has not started 2016 the way they intended, possessing a 2-15 overall record and a 0-3 conference record, but the team is staying positive.
“Everyone’s attitude has been really good so far,” Orr said. “Everyone is still up, and we can turn it around. We got a lot of season left, and we are not getting down on each other or quitting on each other.”
As their season continues, PSUC will travel to face New Paltz in a three-game series. The Cards will play the Hawks today at 3 p.m. and Saturday at noon in the first game of a doubleheader between the two teams.
Junior catcher Trevor Markey said the Cards’ past results were not what they wanted, but moving forward, he believes the team can be successful and knows they can work together.
“We are a pretty good group of guys this year,” Markey said. “Everyone gets along well, everyone loves the game and everyone has respect for the game.”
Looking at the season overall, the Cards have 14 conference games remaining as well as five non-conference matchups. Because there are so many contests left, PSUC is confident and knows they can succeed. The team realizes, however, that a hard-working mentality is key.
“The goal for this team is to find a way to get into the SUNYAC playoffs,” Doorey said. “That’s the ultimate goal. We have to get there, and once you’re there, you just never know what will happen. But you have to kick, scratch, claw and fight your way. We are going to have to fight every single day.”
Email Joey LaFranca at firstname.lastname@example.org