Although Major League Baseball’s season is just getting underway, the Muhlenberg Mules baseball team is in the final weeks of their 2019 season. They are enjoying a recent trend of success against Centennial Conference opponents as they head toward the finish line of the 2019 campaign. The Mules lost on Tuesday, Apr. 4 against Ursinus, but previous to dropping the two-run ballgame the squad won four consecutive games dating back to last week. A doubleheader win over McDaniel bookended by wins over Swarthmore, who was ranked ninth in the country by launched the Mules into playoff contention with seven conference games to play.

“I would say that our recent success has come from having the right mindset, staying together and just having fun,” said pitcher RJ Hennessey ‘19. “We have come in to these past games locked in ready to play. No matter what, we have not taken opponents lightly, regardless of their record. We know we have the talent to win a lot of games, it’s just having the right mindset to compete, trust the guys around you and go out and battle. That’s another thing, we all support each other and trust each other so that helps a lot on the field. We’re just trying to have fun, on the field and in the dugout. We’re hitting well, getting quality pitching and having fun doing it.”

Chris Grillo ‘19, batting with a .343/.417/.480 slash line this season, believes the lineup he is apart of has also played a huge role in the Mules recent success.

“The offense has really come around compared to where it was in the beginning of the season,” said Grillo. “Guys are really starting to understand their role in the line-up and what we individually need to do in order to be successful. Also, we have come together extremely well as a team after our tough start to conference play. We have had each other’s back since starting 0-3 and I think the positive mindset we have had this past week has been huge.”

Grillo ’19 is thoroughly impressed in the offensive development in 2019. Photo Courtesy of Muhlenberg Athletics

The Mules still have nine total games remaining on the 2019 schedule, so it is more important than ever for the team to ride its recent hot start into the final stretch of this season. This current group of players has the positive mindset it takes to win ball games at the collegiate level, and it’s evident in the results on the field and in the scorebook.

“With the season ending at the end of the month, we are going to need to ride this momentum that we have built up over the past week and take it into the next couple weeks,” said outfielder Seth Wasserman ‘19. “Our schedule definitely did not start out easy, but we put ourselves in a good position to be very successful if we can continue to do what we have proved to be capable of doing over the last week,” Wasserman continued.  

Muhlenberg baseball is looking for its first season with a winning record since 2015, when the team posted a 17-15 overall record, although sporting an 8-10 record in conference play. Regardless, there remains something special about this year’s squad. They have a level of confidence not seen by the team in years, and that can be dangerous come the playoff stretch.

“We’ve always been a pitching and defense team. That has been the area we’ve been leaning on,” said Hennessey. “However, we’ve been swinging the bats really well. Guys have been having great at bats and stringing together hits. We have to handle our business, stay focused and play good all around games hitting, pitching and defensively, and I really like our chances against anyone. Don’t let the boys get hot, just can’t let it happen.”

Baseball is perhaps the most team oriented sport, in that one player’s success does not guarantee the success of an entire ball club. In fact, because of the individual nature of each player’s plate appearance or time at the mound, it requires a collective group of team baseball to be able to compile wins. This is a quality of the sport that the Mules recognize, and they understand it will take every player on this roster contributing at his highest level in order to achieve greatness.

“The most important thing that needs to remain consistent is all of us staying together as a team,” said Grillo. “When we have all 40 guys bought in to our success, it is very scary as to what this team could do. We are in a great position to be playing deep into May but we have stay focused on taking one game at a time and not getting ahead of ourselves.”

The baseball team’s next game is Thursday, Apr. 18, in Collegeville, Pa. against the Ursinus Bears in Centennial Conference action as the matchup is the final meeting between the two programs in 2019.


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