By A.J. Martelli and Jamsel Reyes
Coming off a last place finish in the ECC in 2008, the Mavericks baseball squad is looking forward to a successful campaign in 2009.
Coach Bill Sullivan, who is entering his 15th year as the Mavericks’ head baseball coach, is anticipating the performance of his newcomers as well as the continued success of the veterans.
“Chemistry is very important this year,” said Sullivan. “The club house is very supportive with each other and familiar with their abilities.”
Starting the season, the Mavs journeyed to Myrtle Beach from Feb. 27-28 to compete in a non-conference tournament. Overall, they went 3-1, defeating Bloomfield, Felician, and Briarcliffe, while only losing to Felician in the final game. With a winning record in the tournament and getting Mercy off to its best start since 1985, Sullivan is focused on the goal of making the post-season this year.
“Gaining an ECC playoff berth is the main thing I am looking forward to for my team,” he said. “The team is goaled, driven and excited for this season.”
Off to a spectacular start, sophomore outfielder and pitcher Matt Walsh was named all-ECC player of the week on Feb 28. In the Mavericks’ first four games of the season, Walsh went 7 for 16, posting a .438 average and a .813 slugging percentage. Over the course of the first four games, he collected four singles, a double, a triple, and his first collegiate home run.
Walsh also picked up four walks and was 2-for-2 in stolen base attempts. In addition to his stellar offensive numbers, Walsh also tossed a scoreless ninth from the hill on Feb.28, striking out three batters around a walk to close out the Mavericks’ 12-6 win over Briarcliffe.
“Walsh is the all-around hitter and fielder on the team,” Sullivan confidently stated. “He is a player to keep an eye on this season.”
Defensivly, the Mavs are posied for a good campaign.
“Justin Muscarella, our shortstop, and Marc Dern, our catcher, are going to help our strength on the field,” Sullivan said. “The defense is just as important as the offense, and Justin and Marc are the two defensive players to watch.”
Thus far, Dern has secured a .951 fielding percentage while Muscarella is currently fielding .952.
The squad will head to Florida from March 21-24 to play a set of non-conference games against Southeastern, Mt. Vernon Nazarene, Tennessee Temple, and Barry.
ECC play will begin on March 28 against Concordia, and Sullivan is happy about the way the team has been playing. “Chemistry is the number one thing we need for the year,” he said. “Our players will grind it out and play to the end of each inning.”