Young talent and chemistry provides hope to end baseball team’s playoff drought

After months of preparation and practice, the men’s baseball team is expected to begin season following a scheduled trip to Florida over spring break. Sophomore Matt Mitchell  noted that “the whole team has great chemistry this year, which is one of the factors that contributes to any baseball team’s success.”

Mitchell also expressed that he is excited to start the season down in Florida, stating “the spring trip to Fort Myers will also be a terrific experience, as it gives us a shot to play some great non-conference teams that we wouldn’t necessarily be able to play otherwise.”

Last season, the team went 4-8 in conference play and 11-24 overall. Despite the conference record, Colby had the second most runs in the NESCAC East Division, sitting only behind Tufts who won the Division with a record of 11-1. One of the notable series that the Mules played last year was against Bowdoin who had a strong overall record of 22-14. The team won two of the three games. The first and second games Colby won handily with scores of 14-3 and 8-1 respectively. Though the Mules fell in the third game of the series 2-5,  some of the stronger performances in that series were led by the 2016 graduates. The team will have to make up for the absence of Zach Ellenthal ’16, Soren Hanson ’16, Dan Csaplar ’16, among others. Those three led the team in hits and had three of the team’s four best batting averages. Ellenthal is an especially big loss with his .500 on-base percentage. Hanson, Csaplar, as well as fellow graduate Tommy Forese threw in a combined 28 appearances. Pitchers Max Garcia ’18 and Bobby Forese ’18 showed a lot of promise in their outings last season and now look to lead the team this season.

This year, some of the series that the players have highlighted are the games against Bowdoin, Bates, Trinity and Tufts. Mitchells said they “are essential because they will combine for [the team’s] NESCAC record.” A successful run against these teams would allow for the Mules to make a playoff run. Unfortunately, the Mules will be looking at an uphill battle. Many of Tufts’ most successful players return to defend their NESCAC Championship, while Colby has yet to make the playoffs in many years.

Still, this team has accumulated a lot of talent over the past few years and history does not represent what this group of players can do. In fact, this year’s incoming first-year class offers some of the best talent the baseball team has had in years, and resultantly has led to some tough cuts of veteran players. Pairing this promising talent with strong upperclassmen leadership, the Mules should be ready to make a make a solid run throughout this entire season.

The first home game for the Mules will take place on March 30 against Bates. The team hopes to draw a large crowd. As Mitchell said, “the whole team is looking forward to [the] home NESCAC games because it gives us a shot to show everyone how hard we have worked as a team this off season.”

Each spring brings about new opportunities for the Colby baseball team. It is now up to the players to capitalize.