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Brockport baseball restructures lineup with returning talent

by Matt Lauster - Staff Writer
Thu, Feb 21st 2019 03:00 pm
Junior outfielder Nik Malachowski barrels up a ball in last year's semifinal match against Cortland. Brockport lost the playoff match 5-0.
Junior outfielder Nik Malachowski barrels up a ball in last year's semifinal match against Cortland. Brockport lost the playoff match 5-0.
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Coming off an early exit in the second round of the SUNYAC playoffs against the New Paltz Hawks, the Brockport Golden Eagles look to improve from their 18—20 campaign in 2018, despite the loss of some key seniors.

The Golden Eagles lost 11 total seniors, including Austin Hall and Sam McCumiskey, who were both named to the All-SUNYAC teams last year. Despite the losses, head coach Justin Beach had nothing but positive remarks when it came to the current squad.

“Anytime you lose that many guys it will be a transition but also an opportunity for guys to step up and into larger roles,” Beach said. “Also, it’s an opportunity to provide their own leadership and create the chemistry they want on this team. Trust me, it’s never easy but our program has had a good tradition of graduating good players and new ones taking over right where they left off.”

Despite the loss of so many seniors, coach Beach has faith in his new class of seniors heading into the 2019 season.

“We have a strong group with great leadership,” Beach said. “I know they are going to play the game the right way and there will never be a question of their effort.”

Even though Brockport has lost multiple key seniors, there is still an All-SUNYAC talent coming back for the Golden Eagles baseball program in junior outfielder Tommy Kretzler. 

Kretzler is coming off of a season where he hit .288 with 43 runs batted in. Beach has witnessed the growth in Kretzler and expects nothing but another terrific season from the upperclassman.

“Tommy Kretzler had a great season last year and then went on to have a great summer,” Beach said. “He continues to work on his craft and is a very hard worker. We are excited to see him perform this spring.”

The Golden Eagles started the season with some out-of-state traveling due to Brockport’s colder weather. Its first series of the was located in New Jersey for a three game series against the Kean University Cougars. 

When it comes to midseason, where Brockport alternates in and out of conference play, the Golden Eagles have one of the toughest schedules in the country. Despite the stacked number of difficult opponents that Brockport has to face, Beach sees this as an opportunity to prove the team’s toughness and durability, rather than becoming an insurmountable hurdle to clear.

“Out of conference we play one of the strongest schedules in the country, so I’m excited to see how we do against the best,” Beach said.

The players on the team are also viewing the early travel as an exciting part of the season and something that could help them get in shape for conference play. Senior shortstop Charlie Serino was really excited to get back out on the field again after a long winter.

“Early travel is great and we always love it, especially early in the year,” Serino said. “It’s always good to see live arms and get live reps all over.”

Serino and his teammates have been working hard during the offseason to prepare for the upcoming campaign. While the team has high expectations for itself, they try to keep them internal and focus on taking things one step at a time. 

“All winter we have been grinding day in and day out, Serino said. “We know we have a lot of talent but that’s not what is going to win us ball games. It’s also just grinding and taking each pitch and at bat an inning at a time.”

Brockport travels to West Virginia on Saturday, Feb. 23 to play four games over the weekend. Alfred State University and Muhlenberg College will pose as Brockport’s opponents, each team facing the other twice.

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Taken by Vincent Croce:
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