Rainouts and Injuries Add to Disappointing Season for Men's Baseball Team
The Men's Baseball Team started off strong this season, compiling 13 wins and only 5 losses by the end of March. Then April came along and the Vikings went 2-15. Their final 19-22 record was a disappointment, acknowledged first-year Head Coach Kip Harrison.
"From the first game of the season, we were plagued by injuries, the kind that keep players out of the line-up for weeks," Harrison said. "There was barely a game that included the original starting line-up. We had players stepping in as starters who hadn't expected to have a big role. They were being asked to replace the team's strongest players." Especially painful was the loss of center fielder Charlie Iacono, who missed almost half the season due to injury.
Numerous rain-outs forced cancellations that in some cases couldn't be made up. "It was tough to get into a groove. Some weeks three out of four days were rain-outs. Still, the players never got down on themselves. We played through it all and made it to the Region 19 Tournament Final Four," Harrison said.
In qualifying for the tournament, which was hosted by MCCC May 7-9, the Vikings participated in the "play-in" round on May 1, defeating the County College of Morris in a doubleheader, 4-1 and 10-2. They earned the no. 4 seed at the tournament, which also included Del Tech, Sussex and Lackawanna.
Facing Sussex in their first game on May 7, the Vikings couldn't get the hitting going and were defeated 2-0. The second game, against Lackawanna, remained scoreless for four innings, until the Vikings finally opened it up with five runs and held on for a 6-4 win. But capturing the title was just too tall an order for the Vikings as they lost to Sussex 11-2 on May 8. Del Tech went on to beat Sussex in the Region 19 final.
Harrison points to many players who continued to shine despite the team's setbacks. “I feel really positive about their contributions. Freshmen pitchers Tom Giambrone, Matt Perks and Jay Karmazin were all strong on mound,” he said. Other standouts included first baseman Mike Roman and center fielder Charlie Iacono, who were selected to the All Region First Team, and left fielder Doug Ford and pitcher/infielder Patrick Sharples, who were named to the second team. Roman, Iacono and Ford were also selected to the All Conference First Team, while Giambrone and catcher Brian Stuetz were named to the second team.
Harrison is already looking to the future. :This year will prove a good test for the freshmen, who will have to bounce back next year. We've got lots of talent to build on. I'm pretty excited about the core group of returning players," he said.
On the brightest note of all, 10 of the baseball team's 11 sophomores will be transferring to four-year schools, where they will continue their academic and playing careers.
Assistant coaches for this year's team were Fred Carella and John Kalinowski.