The Plattsburgh State baseball team is eager to start its new season this weekend. It begins on the road against Vassar College for a doubleheader Saturday afternoon.
The Cardinals finished last season with an overall record of 13-23 (5-13 in conference) but managed to finish strong despite the adversity they faced all season.
“We are all very excited. We showed a lot of growth last year,” said Kris Doorey, PSUC head coach. “People will look at our record and say we were not very good, but we’ve set the tone for the program moving forward.”
“We’re still young, but we can’t use that as an excuse anymore.”
PSUC started nearly seven freshmen each game last year, and only had one senior on the entire team. This year, there is more of a veteran, leadership presence, which will help develop the young guys from last year and ease in the new faces this season.
“Two of our three captains are seniors, and all are guys that need to lead by example,” Doorey said. “Last year was a tough year for our only senior, but this year’s group of guys has been together since we started to rebuild.”
Right-handed-pitcher Mitch Crispens is the lone fourth-year player for the Cards, while the other three seniors are all transfer students. He and fellow senior RHP Jacob Stein will both continue to pitch out of the bullpen for the Cards.
“All these guys are hard workers, real blue-collar guys,” Doorey said. “And the team is stronger, too. But we cannot have the same mistakes as last year. These guys now know what college baseball is about.”
Heading into its first matchup of the new season, assistant coach Brian Burns says it is all or nothing Saturday against Vassar College.
“It should give us a good idea of where we are competitively compared to last year,” Burns said. “If we go down there and sweep a doubleheader, then we’ve taken a step forward … for the weekend. If we go down there and we split, it’s going to be a disappointing weekend for us.”
“In my mind, it’s sweep or bust.”
PSUC split its doubleheader against Vassar College last season, so the Cards have their eyes on a clean record before their annual trip to Fort Myers, Florida for the Gene Cusic Collegiate Classic March 9-17.
“I’m hoping that they remember we played well at the end of the year last season,” Burns said. “Now they know what it takes to succeed, and a lot of them have a chip on their shoulder after last year.”
Playing deep in the North Country, it helps mesh the comparably diverse PSUC clubhouse in that they all spend an abundance of time together, due to the fact that they are all quite a distance away from home.
“They all get along amazingly, and a lot of that is because they’re all so far away from home,” Burns said. “It’s not like we have some kids up here that leave to go home on the weekend. Our guys are here from the first day of classes until the last day of classes.”
Whether it be sophomore infielder Kentaro Mori (Tokyo, Japan), or freshman infielder Tom Bowe (Homer, Alaska), or junior LHP PJ Weeks (Bayport, New York), the entire team has a great deal to bond over.
“And I think because of our school’s geographical location, our guys really bond over that,” Burns said. “Being at their home away from home, while playing baseball, they all mesh really well together.”
The Cards will face its first conference opponent while in down Fort Myers, for a three-game series from March 10 to March 11 against SUNY Oneonta, against whom PSUC went 1-2 last year.
However, the Cards are focused on their season opener at 2:30 p.m. tomorrow in Fishkill, New York, against Vassar College, and will have the opportunity to be 2-0 heading into the Gene Cusic Classic.
“I just know our guys are chomping at the bits to play,” Burns said. “They want to get out there sweeping doubleheaders.”
“I’m excited to see how they respond to actually being outside [on a baseball field].”
Email Ezra Kachaturian at email@example.com