Published: March 3, 2016
The University’s baseball team opened its 2016 season in a double-header against the Dickinson College Devils at Diamond Nation in Flemington, New Jersey on Saturday. The Royals lost two hard-fought games, 7-6 and 11-6.
The scoresheet was not exactly reflective of the games, for the Royals gave a solid effort.
“You can take positives and negatives out of it,” senior outfielder Zach Dignam said. “We showed good signs of hitting, defense and pitching. We have a lot of room to grow.”
“We played well for the first day, the energy was good. We were really into it, we just fell apart at the end,” senior catcher Tyler Ferretti said.
Dignam noted, “It’s the first day out there so you’re not going to expect to be perfect, but we showed we have a lot of potential.”
Adversity will be a challenge for the Royals this season, but they have a history of battling through it to be successful.
Last season, after receiving sixth place in the 2015 Landmark Baseball Preseason Poll, they ended up coming out on top of the league for the regular season.
“Last year we started the season pretty poorly, but were able to bounce back from that,” junior infielder Anthony Simone said, “We need to not get down on ourselves when we face adversity.”
This coincides with one of the team’s phrases, “chip chip.”
“Even if we’re down or not down, one bat at a time, one pitch at a time. If you’re down just chip away,” Simone said.
Dignam agreed with the importance of perseverance, noting, “We play 40 games, so there will be ups and downs, it’s just how you deal with the downs. We’re going to lose some hard games, you have to deal with that.”
He and Ferretti both emphasized the word “finish” as one that is meaningful to the team.
“Finish everything you do. It starts at practice, finish every drill, sprint and finish every game,” Ferretti said.
Simone noted the team’s confidence and work ethic, while Dignam noted its character, as pieces that will help them get through any adversity they may face.
The Royals welcomed 10 first-year students to the team this season, replacing a graduating senior class of 11 the year before. Looking at the season as a whole, “We’re looking very good,” Ferretti said. “We’re building on what we had last year, we have a strong freshman class, bringing in good pitching after losing lots of pitching last year. We have lots of depth, and lots of guys with speed and athleticism.”
Dignam, Ferretti and Simone all named winning the Landmark Conference Championship as a team goal.
“Our goal every year is to win the conference, but we’re going to take it game by game, conference weekend by conference weekend,” Dignam said.
Ferretti agreed, noting the importance of winning every conference series out of three games.
The Catholic University Cardinals are obvious rivals of most athletic teams at the University, and the baseball team is no exception.
After an outstanding league-leading regular season performance, the Royals fell short to Catholic University in the conference playoffs last year.
“We were so close last year, but ended coming up short,” Simone said.
Dignam agreed with Simone, saying, “We lost to them in the playoffs last year at home which hurt a lot. They’re naturally our rivals.
The Royals will not face Catholic University until early April, and currently have their focus on this weekend, when they travel to Stevenson, Maryland, to play in a three-game weekend at Stevenson University.
They start with a game against Keystone College at 2:30 p.m. Saturday.
Simone says the team is looking forward to this weekend, as they play two top-25 ranked teams, Keystone College and Frostburg State University, “playing teams like that definitely builds character, win or loss, it’s a good experience, especially early in the season.”
The season may not have started the way they wished it had, but the Royals have plenty of time to reach their goals and come out on top.
The Royals remains confident in the talent on the team.
“We still have an edge this year,” Ferretti said.
The Royals will be looking to earn their first win this weekend.
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