The Plattsburgh State baseball team did not experience the success it wanted to this season, but despite many struggles, the Cardinals want to use the 2016 campaign as a learning experience.
The Cards ended the season 6-30, finishing last in the SUNYAC and missing the playoffs for the fourth-straight year.
PSUC head coach Kris Doorey acknowledged the many difficulties his team experienced throughout the season but noted how the Cards expected numerous challenges.
“This was definitely the most difficult season I have been part of,” Doorey said. “We knew going into the season that it was going to be difficult. We didn’t have a lot of returning players that had seen playing time before, and we knew we were going to be young.”
PSUC possessed a lot of younger players on its roster, with seven freshmen and four sophomores, and Doorey said one of the most noticeable positives from the season was the chance for the team’s younger players to showcase their abilities.
“The best thing we got out of the season was the opportunity to see a lot of guys play,” Doorey said. “We definitely had some bright spots. These guys tried as hard as they could.”
One of the high points in terms of youth for the Cards was freshman pitcher Matt Fox who tallied four wins this season.
While Fox had a good amount of individual achievements, he said the Cards know they did not have the overall success aimed for when the season began but also noted how it’s important to not be negative and keep a positive mindset.
“I think the season was more of a learning experience than anything else,” Fox said. “Because we had such a young team, we got to find out what works and what doesn’t work. You also learn more about the game as you get older and as you play more, so I think it was definitely a really good learning experience.”
Since PSUC wants to use its latest season as a steppingstone for the future, the team has begun to analyze what needs to change in order to be more successful.
Junior catcher Trevor Markey said a key problem for the Cards throughout the year was a lack of consistency, and he said the team having this problem was difficult.
“It was tough not winning and not putting it together when we thought we could,” Markey said. “We either hit and didn’t pitch or pitched and didn’t hit. It was just a tough year for everyone.”
Toward the end of the 2016 schedule, PSUC saw a higher level of success, winning three of its last eight games, and Markey said this helps the Cards look at the season in more of a positive way and allows the team to know it can be successful.
“I feel like we saw we can actually win games and play well, which helps,” Markey said. “It was just one of those years, though. We would win a game, but then we couldn’t keep it together, and we were never consistent enough. One thing we have to look at is being more consistent and being able to win games when we need to win.”
With the season ending, the Cards will lose seven seniors, including Fumiya Nakano, Andrew Kramer, Ross Levinson, Alex Rodriguez, John Milano, Eric Rock and Scott Orr.
Orr said the season did not go the way he would have liked his final year as Card to be, but he said PSUC had a great group of guys, which made everything enjoyable despite losing many games. Even though Orr will not return next season, he said there is potential for next year’s team.
“For the guys coming back, there is a lot of room for growth,” Orr said. “There were not many seniors on the team, so a lot of guys can step up and play better next year. I know there is going to be a lot of guys coming in, so hopefully, they can change the atmosphere and make it a more winning atmosphere.”
Looking ahead, the Cards want to use this season as motivation for the future, and Doorey said the way PSUC kept fighting throughout the year maintains the hard-working mindset needed to win games, and he will not forget the player’s work ethic they displayed.
“I will always remember that the guys who finished the season grinded it out,” Doorey said. “They worked extremely hard, and they didn’t give up on each other. They fought all the way through to the end.”
Email Joey LaFranca at firstname.lastname@example.org