Baseball looks to build on strong spring start

by Melanie Klucznik / Beacon Correspondent • March 15, 2017

Emerson baseball started the season off strong in Florida last week, leaving 7-2, already beating last year’s record by three wins.

The Lions are coming into this season with last year’s record of 4-28 overall hanging over their heads. Captains Pablo Feldman and Henry Schwartz led the team through the nine scheduled nonconference games, collecting seven wins in the Sunshine State.

The team faced rival Wentworth in a doubleheader, winning 4-3 and 8-2. This, according to head coach Nick Vennochi, was a “must-win” to start the season on a strong note after Emerson won last year’s tight match with the school, 9-8 in 11 innings.

“Last year’s was a frustrating game against [Wentworth] because we definitely put our best out there to win,” Vennochi said. “They were treating it as a scrimmage. We knew they wouldn't do that this year.”

The team is hoping for better chances this year due to the increase of numbers on the team; the team consists of 27 players this season.

The team was able to continue the winning streak against Wentworth by introducing multiple new players. This season, the team is working on staying focused throughout the season.

“The goal this season is to improve and build on last year, and to stay together, which is tough when you're not winning consistently,” Vennochi said.

The team has already dodged an obstacle in their preseason when the Bobbi Brown and Steven Plofker Gym flooded and became unusable at the end of February. Despite the setback, the team was able to compromise to maintain its set preseason pace by commuting to other facilities in the Boston area.

“It hasn’t stopped our progress at all. It obviously is not what we wanted,” Schwartz said. “We’ve had to drive to different facilities all over the New England area. We’ve woken up at 6 a.m., and have practiced until midnight on some nights.”

The Lions are looking forward to the spring weather that will allow them to train and play at their home field, Campanelli Stadium in Brockton, Massachusetts.

The team acquired the stadium two years ago. Before this they had only been sharing a field with Suffolk and various other teams. They began playing there last year. Catcher Pablo Feldman said that the effect of playing on a home field has been noticeable.

“It’s nice to have a place that you can call home,” Feldman said. “It adds an air of confidence. There is a home field advantage. When it’s your home field, you feel more comfortable.”

Feldman and Schwartz said senior players are receiving a lot of attention this season, more so than others because of the abnormally large number of graduates come May. Six seniors will be graduating, and Vennochi said they’ve survived a bumpy ride.

The Lions are scheduled to play their first home game against Rivier on March 26 after the cancellation of a doubleheader this weekend.  The team will not be relying on luck, but on consistent preseason preparation.