A unity of purpose is the biggest advantage the baseball team is carrying into their season.
Senior Ryan McAlister said, “as a team we all have the same goal and that is to make the ODAC tournament. If we make the tournament then anything can happen.”
In their first year under head coach Ben Spotts, 2013, the Royals had the most wins since 2002, and the seventh most wins in EMU history.
Despite this success, the Royals face an uphill climb this year as they try to deal with the loss of five seniors, and attempt to incorporate 17 new freshmen into the lineup.
Recognizing their youth, the ODAC coaches’ poll has the team ranked 10th out of 11 teams to start the year.
Despite their standing, the team remains hopeful that it can find a balance between the energy that the new first- years bring to the team and the experience of returning players.
Junior Kyle Armstrong, who started every game last year in right field, looks forward to taking a larger role on the young team.
“I think that I’ll continue to contribute… in every game, but hopefully in a bigger role,” said Armstrong. “Being another year older, I want to become more of a leader.”
The team should have no lack of leaders, as it returns Seniors first baseman Adam Posey and catcher Jonathan Estrada, both first team all ODAC selections last year.
The Royals will also welcome contribution from McAlister, a four year starter who has been quite consistent during his time on the team.
As one of the team’s co-captains, McAlister is looking forward to helping younger players find their spot on the roster.
McAlister said, “I know what to expect after having a lot of playing time. I can kind of coach the younger guys along and get them ready to play at a highly competitive level.”
In the face of losing key players and the challenge of incorporating new players into the system, McAlister remains positive by noting some of the team’s strengths: “last year we got a coach that was easy to get along with, but also pushed us to become better players.”
“This year, one of our strong points is a deeper pitching staff. It is something that I haven’t had since I’ve been here,” said McAlister.
Armstrong agrees with McAlister’s assessment of the incoming first-years. “As for this year’s team, we are young, but full of talent and potential. We just have to play as hard as we can every pitch, and we will be in every game.”
The team currently holds a 1-1 record, both games against N.C. Wesleyan.
Tuesday’s game against Mary Washington was postponed due to snow.
The Royals will play their home opener this Friday at 3 p.m. against non-conference opponent Maine-Presque Isle.
-David Yoder, Co-Editor In Chief
Tags: David Yoder