With their season set to start Feb. 22 at the Gallaudet Bison Classic in the nation’s capital, the Muhlenberg baseball team looks to build off of their success from last season, which included an appearance in the CC playoffs, and hopefully perform even better than they did last year.
With the amount of success that the team saw in 2019, you would think that the team would feel pressure to repeat themselves. However, John Serruto ‘20, who received an All-Eastern College Athletic Conference honorable mention last season, feels absolutely none. “The way we approach every season is the same. We feel that making the Centennial Conference playoffs is an expectation no matter if we made it the year prior or not,” Serruto said.
“We feel that we have all the right pieces in place to repeat and go farther than we did the year prior,” Serruto added.
Teammate and pitcher Matthew D’Ambrosia ‘20 is in complete agreement. “I don’t believe that there is any more pressure on us this season after making the playoffs the past two seasons,” D’Ambrosia said. “We fully believe that we are a top team in our conference and we always expect to be competing for a conference championship, so while there may be higher expectations for our team from everyone else, as a team we have always held ourselves to the level of a playoff and championship team,” D’Ambrosia further explained.
The team is heading into the season with a great attitude, which is always important for baseball. Last season, they went 20-17 throughout the regular season and 10-8 in conference play. They made the playoffs for the second straight year and the sixth time overall in program history. The 20-win season a year ago was the fifth in program history, and the first since 2013. They also set team records for doubles (85) and extra-base hits (110) in a season.
But, like every year, the team has to deal with the loss of several players to graduation. However, they have managed to improve both over the offseason and during their current preseason. “This year, we have a lot of new faces in new positions, and I feel over the course of this preseason we have done an incredible job getting comfortable with ourselves and becoming adaptable to new circumstances,” said Serruto. With two weeks to go until their first game, the team still has time to gel and get the new players used to playing at the college level. With great players and a great coaching staff, there is no doubt that they will be ready come the start of the season. “While we are still very early on in the preseason, the entire team is constantly pushing themselves every day, to become better baseball players and everyone is competing their hardest everyday getting closer as a team and more competitive as a whole,” D’Ambrosia added.
While making the playoffs is always the goal, the team has big plans as the season nears. “Our team always has the same goal of making the Centennial Conference playoffs and working our way to a Centennial Conference-Championship,” Serruto said. “But with that said, our main focus is to take every game one game at a time, and that ultimately should lead us to many wins and a successful season,” he added.
The team is not trying to think too far ahead, and taking things a game at a time will help the squad ultimately reach their goals. The baseball season is a long one, but this team is looking to make this a season to remember.
The Mules have clear sights on how they want the season to go. D’Ambrosia said it best: “The team’s expectations this season are to win a conference championship. We have been to the playoffs the past two seasons, but our expectations aren’t just to get there, but … to finish the job,” he explained.
The Mules hit the diamond on Feb. 22 and begin the Gallaudet Bison Classic with a match with Gwynedd Mercy at 10 a.m.