by Roger Wistar
Varsity baseball head coach Tyler Wosleger sees many encouraging signs that the program is in the midst of a resurgence and should continue its improvement this year.
"This year is really important because we have a strong recruiting class coming in next season," said Wosleger. "We need to take last year and build off of it."
The team is already excited about the talent on this year's roster, particularly the increased pitching depth. Whereas last season there was a shortage of arms, this year no fewer than nine players could see some time on the mound.
The overall numbers for the program are also back on the rise, allowing the program to reconstitute the JV baseball team this year. The JV program will include a mix of varsity and JV players and play an eight-game schedule this year.
"It's the sign of a healthy program. We are taking the next step in building the program," said Wosleger, who added that the 13 Preps and Lower Mids across both team's rosters gives the Bearcats the prospect of developing for several years to come.
Although the Bearcats may not always see success this season in the wins column, Wosleger said that the team can measure its growth through smaller, more incremental improvement. Much of that comes through a change in mentality and building a winning attitude, he said.
"Last year, if we started the game and the other team jumped out to an early lead, we decided we would fight back," said Wosleger. "We battled in our at bats and picked up the ball on defense better. Pitchers learned that tempo and throwing strikes is more important than strikeouts."
Besides pitching, the other end of the battery should also be a strength for the team, as Wosleger gave kudos to both catchers, returner Max Quinn '19 and newcomer Colin Rooney '17. Besides both catching and pitching, each player can play a multitude of infield positions, giving the Bearcats flexibility in lineup construction.
This year's preseason included a trip to Florida with many positive results, not least of which was the teams' 4-1 record in scrimmage games. This year 15 players attended the trip, up significantly from last year's numbers, which Wosleger said helped coaches evaluate talent earlier and begin building the team sooner.
"Team chemistry typically translates on the field," said Wosleger. "They entered the trip not really knowing the other guys, but they left having made new friendships that will carry over into the season."