The Muhlenberg baseball team recently named Sam Arnold ‘20, Billy Brittingham ‘20, John Serruto ‘20 and Matthew D’Ambrosia ‘20 their captains for the 2020 season. While it may look like nothing more than a letter stitched onto their jerseys, this seemingly small gesture speaks volumes about these young men, who have given the team their all throughout the duration of their time in Allentown.
“Being named captain of the baseball team really is such an honor,” said infielder Arnold. “Being able to represent Muhlenberg College in this way is something that I am extremely proud of and look forward to doing these next couple of months.”
However, Arnold is not letting the accolade get to his head, especially as he has yet to have a formal opportunity to lead from his new perch on the field, since the season has yet to get under way.
While the honor is a recognition of Arnold’s sterling play, his humility and decorum also surely played a role in his selection. “Being a member of this team for the last three years has been so rewarding, and I’m grateful that it culminated in my being named a captain,” Arnold explained. “Obviously, I was excited and proud when I heard the news, but it doesn’t mean anything until I help my teammates around me in a positive manner, which I look forward to doing in the future.”
These players have also been chosen because of the way they exemplify what it means to be a part of a Muhlenberg athletic team and because of their natural desire to be a role model for their younger counterparts. They also have the opportunity to leave a lasting mark on the program as a whole.
“I want to provide a template of how you should go about your business as a Muhlenberg baseball player,” Arnold added. “You are only going to get better if you push yourself and the people around you, and that’s what I’ve been doing for the last three years and will continue to do … in the future.”
Additionally, the combination of the captains’ status as team leaders and elder statesmen with no shortage of wisdom to impart, along with the fact that they are still the younger members’ fellow students, could mean they are in prime position to liaise between the rest of the team and the coaching staff.
“I like to interact with a lot of our guys on an individual basis,” first baseman Brittingham said. Brittingham also believes in the notion that in order to be effective in a role like this, especially because of the tight-knit nature of the players, it is important to be communicative and establish personal ties with each of his teammates. “I feel that I have a good enough relationship with every person on the roster that they feel they can come to me personally if they ever have an issue or want to discuss a problem,” Brittingham continued.
While being a captain is surely exciting for each of these young men, they have their sights set on bigger things this year, especially after the disappointing Centennial Conference playoff exit that concluded last season. A significant part of their job is keeping expectations high throughout the grueling season, which often includes games played on back-to-back days, doubleheaders and long road trips on many weekends over the course of the semester.
Having the best possible product on the field for their last opportunity to win the Centennial Conference will be a significant incentive to do the job as effectively as they possibly can.
“Just making the conference tournament every year isn’t good enough for us, and we plan on winning the whole thing this time around,” Arnold remarked. He also noted that in spite of all the challenges, this team is a group that does not need any additional fodder to find motivation. “Every single one of us is hungry for success, and we know what it takes to get there. It may not be easy; in order for us to get to where we want to be, we’re going to have to put in the work,” Arnold stated.
Arnold, Brittingham and the other captains will lead the Muhlenberg baseball team onto the field for the first time when the Mules take on Gwynedd Mercy in Washington D.C. on Saturday, Feb. 22.