After a season where there was little to write home about, the Plattsburgh State baseball team has a lot to feel proud of at the conclusion of its 2017 season. Finishing 13-23 overall and 5-13 in the SUNYAC conference, the Cardinals improved greatly after going 6-30 overall and 2-16 in the conference in 2016.
Gearing toward the future, the Cards will be relying on the youth of the roster to carry them along the way. This year, PSUC had a lot of contributions from its freshmen class, who a good chunk of found themselves in the starting lineup every day.
“13-23 doesn’t sound good, but its twice as many wins as we had last year,” head coach Kris Doorey said. “We’re starting five freshmen almost every single day, so the future definitely looks bright. If the kids can continue to develop and get better, then we will be able to get over the hump.”
Although the Cards only saw themselves winning three more SUNYAC conference games than they did last year, they celebrated the end of the season by sweeping Fredonia in a three game series, which is a significant accomplishment.
“That was the first time we swept a three game series in conference since I’ve been here,” Doorey said. “I think if we had a chance to go back and play Fredonia to start our season, then I’m pretty confident we would be a playoff team. We needed these types of wins beginning of the year, but we ended up having a lot of tight ballgames.”
The confidence started to climb as the season progressed and the weather improved which leads PSUC to believe that they will be contenders come next season.
“Getting that bit of confidence under our belt in the beginning of the season would have helped our season in the long-run,” Doorey said. “We played well offensively, we played really good defense and we won baseball games and that’s what it is all about.”
After sweeping Fredonia in its final series at Chip Cummings Field, the Cards shifted to Lefty Wilson Field for the Brian Mehan Be the Match Game. PSUC lost by double digits to Canton, and then officially ended its season after a doubleheader against Middlebury.
“It was a long couple days for the guys,” Doorey said. “We took a skeleton crew to Middlebury, guys who wanted to get an opportunity. It was a small group but they competed as hard as they could, so my hat is off to them.”
In working closely with the players on the field and in the clubhouse, both Doorey and assistant coach Brian Burns are pleased with the improvements they saw this season.
“I saw a lot of progress in the second half of the season,” Burns said. “Somewhere in the middle of the year we really found our stride. The growth throughout the season was huge for our players moving forward the next two to three years.”
By competing and staying right with the conference’s toughest opponents, it showed PSUC that its talent level is comparable to its counterparts.
“Statistically, we were better in every category compared to last year,” Burns said. “We might have been better, but we have to keep getting better. We can’t leave it at that.”
Now, the birds will get to enjoy their off season, but will be hungry to do what they did this year again next year. Its steady improvements all season long give indication that this program is back on the incline.
“Our seniors did a really good job of writing the ship this year,” Doorey said. “Everyone has been working their tails off to earn their spot and get the program pointed back in the right direction.”
Email Ezra Kachaturian at firstname.lastname@example.org