Baseball looks to win league again

By Eric Brod

Senior Writer

To say the Bison’s run through the Patriot League Tournament last year, which that ended in a league championship and NCAA tournament berth, was unexpected would be an understatement. After an up-and-down 2010 regular season that saw the Orange and Blue finish with an underwhelming 25-35 record (7-9 in league play), the team rode the MVP performance of first baseman Doug Shribman ’11 to a Patriot League Championship.

Despite the losses of Andrew Brouse, Ben Yoder and B.J. LaRosa, the Bison return poised for another run at the league title. Much of the team’s success lies on Shribman, who was named to the Louisville Slugger All-American third team for the preseason. Last season, Shribman exploded for 21 home runs and 62 R.B.I.’s while hitting at a stellar .359 clip. During the tournament, he took his game to another level, belting seven home runs and driving in 16 runs in only six games.

Shribman feels that his dedication to preparation will be crucial for a repeat performance this season.

“You just have to continue to work hard and be ready for any pitch that could come at any time,” Shribman said. “It doesn’t really matter what pitch is coming because you still have to swing at good pitches to hit and take advantage of those opportunities. If you are working hard and maintaining your swing, then it doesn’t really matter how the pitcher throws to you.”

Also returning for the Bison are outfielders Drew Constable ’11 and Bob Donato ’12. The pitching staff also returns with a solid core, led by right-hander Jack Boehm ’12 and Dylan Seeley ’11.

Seeley believes the pitching staff is well-suited to help lead the team back to the NCAA tournament.

“As a pitching staff our goal is always to give our team a chance to win every game, and I believe we are very capable of that this year,” Seeley said. “Last year’s postseason run can give us a lot of confidence going into the year. A bunch of guys got good experience and pressure situations and were successful. Hopefully, that success will give us confidence to start off the season.”

The Orange and Blue will be tested early in the season. Today they travel to face James Madison in a four-game series, and next weekend they will compete against a tough Richmond Spiders team. League play begins April 2, when the Bison will host Lafayette for a four-game, two-day series. Regular season action concludes for the club with a four-game series against Army, and the Patriot League Tournament is set to kick off on May 14.

With a lot of expectations and accolades surrounding the 2011 Bison baseball team, anything short of an NCAA tournament berth will be considered a major disappointment.

“We just have to continue to work hard through the rough times, which inevitably come with any baseball season, and not let a rough game or two bring us down even farther,” Shribman said. “Last year we started playing poorly and it affected us for far too long mentally, so this year we have to do a better job of relaxing and just playing the game like we know we can.”

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