After a long and treacherous winter, there is finally a sign of spring in Scranton. Earlier this month, the baseball team ventured down to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, to get its 2015 season started. The warm weather provided a great opportunity to play against schools not usually included in the regular season schedule, such as Muhlenberg College, Johnson and Wales University, Mt. Aloysius College and Penn State Berks.
Everyone got an opportunity to play and get back in the swing of things before conference play. The Royals played well, much better than the 1-5 record shows. Underclassmen got their feet wet against the collegiate competition, and upperclassmen were able to show how they improved since last season.
The solid start bodes well for the team, especially after having been selected to finish sixth in the Landmark Conference this season after a disappointing 2014 campaign. However, the team does not seem to be too bothered by this preseason ranking. In fact, it may even be serving as a motivator to the guys, and Head Coach Mike Bartoletti believes there is plenty of reason for optimism this year.
“We have a talented team this season, with a nice mix of both young and veteran players,” Bartoletti said.
Returning seniors Zach Dignam, Ross Danzig, Michael Umerich and Matt Calamoneri will be looked upon to provide the veteran leadership throughout the season. In addition to that, 14 fresh-faced newcomers bring energy and determination to the squad, poised to prove themselves at the collegiate level. Calamoneri takes his role as a leader very seriously this year, and he tries to pass on some of the knowledge he has acquired throughout his years at Scranton.
“Good things happen when you’re working hard and having fun,” Calamoneri said.
The team has certainly been working hard since the fall, focusing heavily on improving its athletic ability through strength and conditioning workouts as well as practicing specific baseball fundamentals that are necessary to win games.
Since returning to Scranton, the Royals are 2-1, including a two-game sweep of conference rival Moravian College. It may be early, but the season looks bright for the 2015 Royals.
When asked about his goals for the team this year, Bartoletti said, “Our sights are set on a conference championship.”
He believes this team has the talent to win the conference, and it will be fun to watch them throughout the season as they chase their goal.
The Royals take the field again at 5:30 p.m. Saturday in the first game of three this weekend against Catholic University in Washington, D.C.
March 27, 2015.