The Plattsburgh State baseball team kicked off its season down in Florida, and were able to pull away with three victories out of its 10 games played.
“I’ve been here a long time, and in the old days coming back with three losses was a bad thing,” head coach Kris Doorey said. “Where we are in the stage of development, coming back with three wins is definitely a positive. We could’ve easily come back 5-5, and probably should be 7-3, but these guys have never been through this, so it’s completely different.”
The Cardinals started their week-long stay with two wins against Medaille College, 5-1 and 9-1, in Auburndale, Florida. The Cards ended their trip to Florida with a three game series against Brockport, a team that has ganged up on PSUC in the past. Despite losing the three games before returning north, the games gave the Cards indication that their team has been able to improve a lot from last season, and even since the beginning of the Florida getaway.
“We played some extremely tough teams. We had some good competition and were able to see where we’re at, like we wanted to,” Doorey said. “We handled ourselves pretty well, but starting six freshmen is tough sometimes.”
Out of the 13 freshmen on this year’s roster, six of them found themselves in the starting lineup in their first week playing collegiate baseball. Despite the dense amount of youth, PSUC feels good with their level of talent to start its season.
“They’ve gotten integrated pretty quickly,” Doorey said. “Next year will be easier for them, but we’re not worried about next year yet. They have to find a way to keep working hard and getting better each day.”
The Cards have a limited amount of returners this season, and only a few of them are seniors. One senior that will be looking to lead the offense this season is outfielder Thomas Montalbano, who has proven his worth in his previous two seasons for PSUC.
“Our returners have done a really good job,” Doorey said. “Montalbano is one of our best players and has been for the past couple years, but it’s also some of the other guys who have been here that have gone from starting to playing very little, but have done a great job teaching the younger guys and taking on a leadership role. The older guys have done a real great job talking to the younger players, and we are definitely better than last year’s team.”
Lack of leadership and commitment haunted the Cards last season, which makes this season all the more important for Montalbano and the rest of the senior class to perform at their best in all aspects.
“As a team, we’re going to be training and working a lot harder,” Montalbano said. “We have more guys that want to win this year. Some guys gave up last year because of our record, but we have guys here that want to compete.”
PSUC was not able to continue conference play after returning home due to the amount of snow that compiled while the Cards soaked up the warm Florida sun. What would have been its home opener was postponed last Friday against New Paltz, as well as the double-header that was in line for Saturday, which was a rare occurrence for this program.
“I transferred here after my freshman year, and this is the first time we’ve had to cancel games in my three years,” Montalbano said. “However, I think we needed a few days after Florida to practice and make ourselves better.”
The Cards hope to take the field Wednesday March 29, as they are schedule for a game against Castleton University 3:30 p.m.
“It’s a new year, so we definitely want to show everyone that Plattsburgh can win,” Montalbano said. “We are not the same team as last year.”
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