Despite its less than impressive season last year, the Plattsburgh State baseball team has a lot to feel good about and look forward to about the upcoming season. After going 6-30 (2-16 in conference) last season, there were quite a few adjustments made to the roster in order to try and make for a better season in 2017.
The Cardinals welcome 13 freshmen to the program along with a handful of transfer students. One transfer student whose veteran experience can help catapult this year’s pitching staff is RHP Jacob Stein, who played his two previous seasons in Long Island for Suffolk Community College (SCC).
“Being a transfer student, we have more knowledge of the game and experience compared to the freshmen who haven’t played in a college game yet,” Stein said. “Playing at SCC was a great experience, and I’m looking for a good experience this year.”
Working with pitching coach Gary Duquette to prepare for the season, Stein and the rest of the pitching staff worked a lot on stamina in order to get more out of their pitchers this season.
“One thing they want us to be able to succeed at this year is being able to go far into games,” Stein said. “That will really help our team win games, and last year we weren’t as good at that, so we’re hoping for a turnaround this season.”
Stein hopes to learn a lot from the few players that did return this season, and is excited to see how they can all learn from one another as well.
“Everyone cares about each other,” Stein said. “Mitch (Crispens) has a great impact on the team, and T.J. Montalbano and Ray Flynn are core seniors that demonstrate to us what they want so we can succeed together.”
All it takes is hard work, and hard work is exactly what this team put in during the off season.
“We spent countless hours in the gym getting ready,” Stein said. “Over winter break we were all in training facilities to get extra hacks or throw some extra pitches.”
Stein joins junior RHP Mitch Crispens to be the only upperclassmen on the pitching staff this season, to go along with six freshmen who have joined the rotation as well.
“This offseason, our coaching staff did a great job of bringing in a lot of new talent and filled a lot of spaces that needed to be filled,” Crispens said. “It’s a great responsibility being the older guy on the team, and it’s nice to see such young talent and to be able to give them what I’ve been through over the last few years. It’s good to be able to mentor them but be a part of a great pitching staff as well.”
After a tough season last year, Crispens has been working on changing his arm slot to avoid any discomfort or injury, which was something he had trouble with last season.
“I’ve had a little bit of arm trouble over last season, so I changed my arm slot and my arm is healthy,” Crispens said. “I’m hoping to have a big turnaround and have a good season this year.”
PSUC starts its season on the road with a three game series against Farmingdale this weekend before they make the trip down to Auburndale, Florida for the Russmatt Central Florida Invitational (March 11-18) the weekend after.
“In the offseason, I know a lot of us were in the weight room on a daily basis,” Crispens said. “We put in the work and we’re ready to show it this year.”
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