Not in da club

by Beacon Staff • March 22, 2006

But it will remain a club team this spring semester, with the changes taking effect this fall.,The Emerson men's baseball team is set to begin its season, propelled by the recent news that it will become a Division III team next spring after two years under club status.

But it will remain a club team this spring semester, with the changes taking effect this fall.

Head Coach David Hanley, in his second year, said the upcoming challenge is "a confidence thing" and that these two seasons without varsity recognition have allowed the team to rebuild and add more recruits. This year, the Lions have only one senior, pitcher and outfielder Andrew DeFarias.

The team has been practicing regularly both on the field and in batting to gear up for its first game this Saturday, at Quinsigamond Community College in Worcester.

Although Emerson finished the 2005 spring season with a losing record of 5-6, Hanley pointed out that three of those losses were by just one run.

Sophomore pitcher and third baseman Kent Anderson said the team did a good job during the fall season.

"We did better than a lot of people thought we would," Anderson said. "But, personally, I think we underachieved."

Last fall, 17 of the 20 current Lion ballplayers participated in an intercollegiate league called the New England Collegiate Baseball League, in which they went 5-7, with two of the losses by one run.

Their opponents were club teams from schools, including Boston University.

Anderson and sophomore pitcher and infielder Bryan Fennessey, who was named Most Valuable Player for the Lions last spring with a team-leading .463 batting average, were named to the league's All-Star Team.

Anderson said he is optimistic about the upcoming season, for which he said the Lions have some talented recruits.

Junior Drew Sumner underwent Tommy John surgery on Aug. 11, 2004 to replace a tendon in his right elbow, and will be back pitching this season.

This change will certainly be helpful for the Lions, Anderson said, stressing that pitching was the main weakness for the offense-oriented team.

Sumner said the Lions' pitching unit, as well as the rest of the team, looks strong in practice, but noted it is difficult to judge a squad when it practices indoors on a small field.

The team mainly practices at King Field in South Boston, but sometimes it switches facilities.Hanley said the team might even have to get some throws and swings off in the Boston Common.

Hanley said the ideal pitching scenario for the Lions would be to be able to use five pitchers in five innings.

Hoping to help improve the Lions in pitching is junior Lucas Einstein, who is serving as a captain, along with Sumner, for his second straight season.

Einstein said Emerson has "added a lot of depth" and that he is glad to have more pitchers backing him up.

Hanley said he is proud of his players' commitment to the team, and noted the success of their fundraising efforts, selling advertisements for and helping put together a media guide.

He said the team has raised $6,200 and predicts it will have raised $7,000 and sold 15 to 20 ads by this spring.