Baseball has 99 problems but a pitch ain#039;t one

by Beacon Staff • April 12, 2006

Junior baseball co-captain Lucas Einstein and his teammates could have given up after a forgettable year as a 1-28 squad.

It lost varsity status and has been a club level sport for two years until recently named Division III. The team will play in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) next spring.,Junior baseball co-captain Lucas Einstein and his teammates could have given up after a forgettable year as a 1-28 squad.

It lost varsity status and has been a club level sport for two years until recently named Division III. The team will play in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) next spring.

Of the players who stuck together and kept baseball alive at Emerson, perhaps Einstein sums it up best.

"I've been playing baseball my whole life, so I didn't know anything else," he said.

Their offense has been a reason why Emerson has been playing well.

As of April 5, six players were were batting over .400 and eight over .300 and the team batting average is .385.

Junior outfielder Glenn Hyatt, who is hitting .579, said he is impressed with the offensive outburst from the squad.

"Everyone's seeing the ball well and hitting it on a line," he said. "We get hits in key spots and we're not leaving many guys on base."

Sophomore catcher/designated hitter Zach Wintrow, who is batting .476, attributes the hitting success to having a better cast than in years past.

"I think the biggest change is the fact that our lineup is static," Wintrow said. "The last two seasons, we've had to start guys in positions where they didn't necessarily belong and guys weren't playing the same position every day, so it was hard to get in the groove, so to speak."

Hyatt said that part of the reason the squad is hitting so well is because the pitching the Lions have faced is not overwhelming, as it has been in the past.

Last fall, the team competed in the New England Club Baseball Association (NECBA). This semester, however, the majority of the team's games are against local community colleges.

But Einstein said he is impressed with the team's record because of an improvement in the level of play of their opposition.

"I would say [the competition] is a little bit better," Einstein said, noting tough teams such as Diviston III Mitchell College and Quinsigamond College, a top-ten junior college in the country. "These are a little better teams we've faced. Just overall competiton-wise."

Pitching has also been better than in recent years. Traditionally, it has never been Emerson baseball's strong suit, simply because there wasn't anyone to pitch.

As a pitcher, Einstein said it wasn't sore muscles that got to him, but the strain on his brain.

"It's more mentally draining, because you know you have to metally prepare yourself," Einstein said. "That's a big reason we're 6-2 right now, because we have seven pitchers and we're really confident. That's the reason we've been successful this season."

Hyatt said it was harsh in years past.

"It's really a big boost to the team," Hyatt said. "In past years, if those guys would not finish a game, we'd be in trouble. More guys being able [to pitch means] more options."

Hyatt went on to say there was a weekend last year in which the baseball team played six games in three days, with only four able pitchers.

"You do the math," he said. "We have a real staff this year, so we can handle more games like that."

Hyatt, on the other hand, thinks the other schools' pitching is not as good as the teams in the NECBA.

"I don't think we've seen the best pitching," Hyatt said. "We scored 27 runs against Southern Maine Community College. I don't think their pitching was of the highest quality."

With pitching improving and hitting seemingly in place for the Lions, the only question mark on the team is fielding. According to members of the squad, they have not played defense very well. They have made 16 errors in their first six games.

Wintrow said the only thing the squad can do is take more ground balls at practice and become fundamentally better come time to join the GNAC next spring.

"We just haven't played defense very well," Wintrow said. "We only had two cleanly played games defensively and that's not going to cut it when we start our GNAC schedule next spring."

Einstein believes the team is GNAC worthy right now.

"If you put us in the GNAC this day, we could be top three," Einstein said. "We've played eight games. Our offense and our pitchers are dominant. It makes up for our defensive lapses."

Einstein expects there to be 40 people trying out for the baseball team for the 2007 season.

With that many players involved, Einstein said the team has the ability to be ranked in the top 25 in Division III baseball.

"The amount of talent we have, there's no reason why we can't," Einstein said. "All the ingredients are there to be a really powerful team for a long time to come."