Sophomore second baseman Neil Perry is playing his first season on Emerson’s baseball team. The journalism major from Middleborough, Massachusetts, currently leads the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference in stolen bases and sits among the top five in batting average.
“You know, I don’t really pay much attention to stats,” Perry, a former Beacon correspondent, said. “I’m just trying to win some ballgames.”
Perry said that he didn’t play baseball during his freshman year because he assumed that schoolwork would take up most of his time.
“Playing ball makes my college experience busier and more fun,” Perry said.
Perry has started 11 of the Lions’ 12 games. He said that he didn’t expect this right off the bat.
“I worked really hard in the offseason,” Perry said. “My coaches trusted me enough to start our first game against Wentworth. I played pretty well.”
He went 3-for-3 at the plate and scored two runs for the Lions.
Head Coach Nick Vennochi said that he’s very impressed with how quickly Perry has adjusted to Varsity ball.
“Neil’s done a great job so far. He didn’t play last year so we’re happy that he’s picked it up this quickly,” Vennochi said. “He hits the ball hard and is getting more and more comfortable every game.”
Vennochi also said that Perry is going through a learning process and that he expects him to keep improving.
“I’m impressed so far,” the coach said. “Good things happen when he puts the ball in play.”
Sophomore third baseman Nolan Megna said that Perry is a solid teammate.
“He's awesome. He never gets down on himself or anyone else and his head is always up,” Megna, a marketing communication major, said.
Megna went on to praise how Perry adds to the Lions’ chemistry.
“He energizes the team and is really becoming a spark plug for us,” Megna said. “He's the man.”
Perry has swiped eight bags so far this season, good for a tie for first in the NEWMAC.
“You know, I’m not even that fast,” Perry said with a smile. “Some of my steals have just been kind of lucky.”
In his first year of playing at the collegiate level, Perry alluded to his struggles with hitting against better pitching.
“The different mix of pitches has been tough to adjust to,” Perry said. “Especially the slider... That’s my least favorite.”
Perry said the team’s leadership has aided in his early success.
The captains have been huge so far,” Perry said.
“They’re awesome to have.
Perry has recently been moved up in the lineup. He hit seventh in the first game, but was moved up to third and fourth when the team was in Florida.
Megna said Perry’s hard work is paying off.
“Neil’s gritty and scrappy. He battles at the plate and puts the ball in play,” Megna said. “Plays a decent second base and has a great arm.”
Perry said he’s not focusing as much on himself as the season continues.
“I have pretty simple expectations for myself,” Perry said. “Play baseball and have fun.”
A doubleheader on Saturday, March 26 against Clark University is next on the schedule for the baseball team. The games will be played at Campanelli Stadium in Brockton at 12 p.m. and 3 p.m..