By Emily Hayes
The Bridgewater State University baseball team has not seen the results they were looking for through the first 10 games of the season as they currently stand at 4-6.
“Consistency is the most important right now,” said head coach Rick Smith. “We’re a very young team, this is the first year that they’ve all played together, there are eight of them that are brand new starters. So, what we’re finding or trying to find is consistency in the ranks.”
The Bears did not play their best in Florida over spring break, going 3-5 during the road trip. But they did pick up wins against the Apprentice School, Penn State-Beaver and the College of St. Scholastica.
“Down in Florida, we played well in some games and some games got out of hand,” said junior captain and first basemen Nicholas White. “But we learned that we can play with basically anybody.”
One highlight of the trip came against Penn State-Beaver, as Smith earned his 500th career win in his 21st season with the Bears.
Although the Bears had their ups-and-downs in Florida, they still considered it a worthwhile learning experience.
“I think what we learned in Florida was that we’ve got a lot of interchangeable parts that can be plugged in,” Smith said. “The team is young and I can run guys in and out which opens up a lot of opportunities for us.”
On Sunday, in their first game since the Florida road trip, the Bears split a doubleheader with Rhode Island College. Bridgewater State won the second game 5-4 behind a strong pitching performance from junior Andy Sadoski. Freshman outfielder Michael Lajoie also came up big with a key two-run double in the first inning.
However, with many new players and the loss of several key seniors who graduated, the doubters have surfaced on the potential of the Bears this season.
“Going into the season, as opposed to other seasons in the past, we were kind of an underdog,” Sadoski said. “In the past, we’ve been picked to finish first in the MASCAC, this year we’ve been picked to finish third. So, I think we came in with a little bit of a chip on our shoulders and I think it makes us work a little bit harder.”
The captains and coaches are doing everything that they can though to help the team prove the doubters wrong in this season.
“Being made a captain basically just made me work harder,” White said. “It helped me focus on trying to get everyone else better and not just focusing on myself.”
Last season, the team was knocked out in the first round of the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC)Tournament. This year, even with a young team, they hope to go further than expected.
“We’re able to just find the group that is going to work together the best and that’s what we’re hoping for,” Smith said. “All of our non-league games are geared toward winning the MASCAC and then winning in the regionals at the end of the season.”
The team has a long way to go before they get to regionals though and on the way they will face many tough teams.
“We know that no game is promised,” Sadoski said. “We don’t have any definite wins on our schedule and we’ve got to work for everything.”
The Bears will play their next game on Thursday March 27 at Brandeis University at 3 p.m.
Emily Hayes is a Comment sports writer. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.