Men's Baseball Team Back in Win Column


With three-quarters of the men's baseball roster comprised of freshmen, the need to step up to the challenges of college-level play was at the top of the "to do" list for second-year Head Coach Matt Wolski. He reports that many of his players were up to the task, having come equipped with talent and experience from their years of playing high school ball. "This year, I had baseball players instead of guys who play baseball," Wolski said. "They had a good understanding of the game."

With a final record of 18-16, the Vikings are pleased to be back to a winning season, after last year's 14-18 record. "The roster included a lot of talent this year," Wolski said, noting that the record does not adequately capture the team's true ability, with eight losses decided by a single run, and three by two runs.

MCCC Men's Baseball Team

Pitching and defense were the Vikings' key strengths. Pitchers Pat Johnson, Greg Hough, Will Blackmon and Chris Dolan proved tough on the mound. Able defense was provided by numerous players. "These guys could catch. You can teach them how to hit, but they have to be able to run to the ball and make the catch," Wolski said.

Going into the Region 19 tournament, the Vikings were successful in the opening play-in round, defeating County College of Morris 7-6 in 11 innings, and then trouncing them 12-1 in the second game. They did not fare as well at the double-elimination tournament, losing to Lackawanna 8-4 and Salem 8-3.

Still, things are clearly looking up. With as many as 16 players expected to return next year, the Vikings already have a roster full of talent, including third baseman Frank Mercurio, who was named to the All-Region team, Mike Moceri, Greg Martoccio, Corey Radice, Jeff O'Connell and all of the pitching staff except Johnson. With approximately 12 new recruits anticipated, next year's squad may be the Vikings' largest in years.

Wolski has other reasons to feel good about the season. Johnson will transfer to The College of New Jersey to play baseball, and infielder Chris Gray and catcher Chris Kinnevy move on to Roman University. Some of Wolski's freshmen are already being eyed by Division I schools for transfer after the 2008 season.

"Once you start to succeed, other players want to be a part of that," Wolski observed. "Then, they're here not just for school, they're here to win baseball games. It's much more fun to go to class after winning a game than losing a game."

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