Looking forward to a season with high expectations, the Bloomsburg baseball team hopes to rebuild from a disappointing 2008 season, finishing with a record of 13-32 overall and 6-12 in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Eastern Division last season the team hopes to only improve.
After losing only 3 seniors to graduation the team has more experienced players to fill in leadership roles that may have been missing the season before. On the Bloomsburg Baseball website, head coach Mike Collins said this about last season, “we had tough luck with injuries, but a lot of our best players were sophomores. I think that says something about the talent level of this team.” Hopefully the team can stay healthy this season and reach its full potential.
During the 2008 baseball season, the huskies had three players named to the PSAC Eastern Division all-conference team; sophomores third baseman Tony Donofry, multi position player Chris Tressler and relief pitcher Grant Kernaghan. After already excellent seasons, these three players, now all juniors expect to improve and lead the team again this season. Other seniors hoping to impact the team during their last year of eligibility include first baseman Kevin Ward and pitchers Michael Griggs and Dusty Johnson.
After many offseason improvements to the Bloomsburg baseball stadium including new dugouts, seating, and a new backstop, the team is anxious for their home opener. The field not only received improvements from the prior season, the team also upgraded at certain positions. A transfer from division rival Kutztown, catcher Scott Kacelowitz had a fine 2008 season and hopes to improve the Bloomsburg team. Other new comers to the team that may see time pitching include freshman Keith Meyer, Vinny Voorhess and Joe Crossin. When asked who could positively contribute to the team Meyer said “I think we have an overall good team and I think anyone can step in and make an impact when called upon.”
Senior Kevin Ward will be positioned at first base for the huskies. Junior transfer Mike Austin will be at second base. Donofry will roam at shortstop and freshman Kramer at third base.
Donofry who hit .329 last season, will be making the switch from third base to shortstop this season. According to the Bloomsburg Baseball website coach Collins said “Tony is the leader of our infield. He’s gotten stronger since last season and really swings the bat well.” Austin a transfer from a junior college in Alabama, batted .321 with 8 homeruns in 2 seasons. Ward hopes to improve from a downfall last season, which however also led the team in RBI’s. At the hot corner the Huskies are young but coach Collins believes Kramer should successfully fill the void left by Donofry.
The outfield, one of the strongest aspects of the team has all three returning starters. In center field sophomore speedster Anthony Foreman plans on building off of a respectable freshman season where he batted over .300.
Tressler, an all PSAC performer will start in right field for the huskies. Coach Collins said on the Bloomsburg Baseball website, “Tressler has tremendous ability and speed. He brings a lot to the lead-off spot.” Carlos Medina will get the start in left field for Bloomsburg.
The finial defensive aspect of the team that coach Collins expects to improve from last season is the pitching staff. Leading the rotation will be Kernaghan had the team’s lowest e.r.a. last season. Rounding out the rotation will be Johnson, Tressler and Voorhees who all pitched well during the fall off-season. Mitch Troy and Trent Patton could also start games on the mound for the huskies.
Mike Rossetti, the teams’ most consistent relief pitcher last seaso will anchor the bullpen again this season. As long as the lineup produces and the defense plays consistently the pitching staff should fall into place.
When asked about this seasons goal, coach Collins told the Bloomsburg Baseball website ,“Our goal is to reach the conference tournament, and to get there we need to stay healthy.” To accomplish this goal and reach the conference tournament Bloomsburg will have to win against tough competition such as East Stroudsburg, Millersville, Shippensburg, and West Chester. When Coach Collins was asked about this season’s conference he told the Bloomsburg baseball website, “there used to be a discrepancy between the teams at the top and the bottom, but now every team presents a challenge.” There will be no easy ride for Collins and the 2009 Bloomsburg baseball team as they try to improve and reach the tournament this season.