Baseball Team Produces Big Results This Season


Now in his third season as head coach, Matt Wolski is enjoying the fruits of three years of labor. With a final record of 34-13, the Vikings had their most successful season in years, capturing the Region 19 title for the first time since 2003 and making the trip to the District 15 Tournament in Rockland, NY.

"This was the first full year with my recruits," he said. "These players have a clear understanding of what I expect." In addition to a solid nucleus of eight impact players who returned from last season, Wolski had a long list of impressive freshmen and expects ten of them to return next year. "You attract good players by winning games," he said.

The Vikings experienced their fair share of drama this season, none more striking than at the Region 19 Tournament. In the double-elimination tournament, which was held May 2-4 at Salem County College, the Vikings defeated Salem 8-2 in the first round on May 2. On May 3, they lost to Lackawanna 13-4, forcing them into the loser's bracket to face Salem for the second time in two days. They beat Salem again, this time by a score of 5-2. Mercer headed into the final day of action needing two wins against the still undefeated Lackawanna.

Digging deep, Mercer found a way to earn two come-from-behind wins, the first a morale-boosting 11-4 rout and the second a hard fought 4-2 victory, with the winning run coming late in the game. "That Sunday was quite a day," Wolski said. "Sometimes you do better when your back is against wall. You know you have to give everything you've got or you are going home the loser."

In the District 15 Tournament, the Vikings faced stellar competition. After a rain-out on May 9, they lost 11-7 to the University of Connecticut at Avery Point on May 10. In their next match-up, they defeated Sullivan County 11-4, but could not get the job done against Monroe CC, losing 3-1. According to Wolski, Monroe was simply better that day (and went on to finish third in the World Series).

Wolski counted on his pitchers to deliver. "Our greatest strength was our pitching," he said. "We had eight solid pitchers: the top three were Will Blackmon, Chris Dolan and Greg Hough, but they were all good. And the team had fun together, which helps players produce. They do a little extra for their buddies."

Asked to single out players who excelled, Wolski said, "Where do I stop? They all contributed - Jason Zegarski at short stop, Chris Cox in left field, Dave Angebrant at catcher - but I could keep going with this team."

According to Wolski, players often come to Mercer because they are still maturing physically. He points to a player like third baseman Frank Mercurio, who has concentrated on his physical development over the past two years and was selected for Mercer's Strength and Conditioning Award this spring. Mercurio will transfer to play at the University of Pittsburgh in the fall. Other players who have reaped the benefits of working hard on the Mercer baseball team are sophomore pitchers Will Blackmon, who is currently considering offers from four schools, and Greg Hough, who will play at Winthrop University (SC) next year.

"It's more about them than me," Wolski said. "I just show them the way and let them run with it. They have no choice but to work hard. The players count on each other."

Wolski is serious in his approach to the game. "You can't win any other way," he said. "There are good programs and bad programs. If you are going to spend six hours on the field playing a doubleheader, you want to come out the winner. The ride home is better and your dinner tastes better." Wolski was assisted this year by Fred Carella and Kevin Kerins.

Directions to MCCC

Return to Sports News