The Allegheny baseball team is looking for a bounce back season in 2018. The Gators finished last season with an overall record of 23-17. In conference, the Gators finished third in the North Coast Athletic Conference East division with an 8-11 record.
The team looks for this season to be different as new coach Brandon Crum takes over as head coach.
Third baseman Vinny Carone, ’19, is really excited in what he sees from the new coach.
“Coach Crum has done a great job getting us ready to play this year,” Carone said. “He’s very positive and energetic.”
Other players have echoed Carone’s thoughts on Coach Crum, including infielder and catcher Tommy Cannon, ’19, who recently played for Coach Crum at Mercyhurst College North East.
“He’s a guy that wants to win,” Cannon said. “[Crum] brings a great atmosphere to the program.”
While expectations are high within the program, there are many doubts from the outside. In the recent NCAC pre-season coaches’ poll, the Gators were picked to finish seventh out of ten teams.
“It just adds fuel to the fire,” Carone said. “I know a lot of guys on the team get motivated by that stuff. It just gets us ready to get going this season … we know we aren’t the seventh best team in the conference.”
Catcher Jon Pouch, ’19, added to Carone’s confidence that the low rank would help the team.
“Just let them doubt,” Pouch said. “We are going to stay true to ourselves and focus on Allegheny baseball and no one else.”
Despite the outside doubt, the Gator baseball team still has the same expectations as always, according to Pouch.
“Our number one expectation is to win every game”, Pouch said, “We want to make it back to Chillicothe where the conference tournament is at. [We] want to get in a good position to make the playoffs. … and to win it.”
The Gators will start their season Saturday, Feb. 24, with a doubleheader at John Carroll University. After a quick two games against Case Western Reserve the following weekend, the Gators will travel to Arizona to play in the 2018 Tucson Invitational.
The team is very excited to travel to Arizona, according to Carone.
“Obviously it’s nice to go down south and [feel] the warm weather and get away from the cloudy skies,” Carone said.
Pouch also expressed his excitement.
“The whole trip is basically a week with the boys,” Pouch said. ‘Just hanging out and playing baseball. Doing something you love.”
Despite their enthusiasm at the prospect of spending time with each other, the players do recognize there is a serious aspect to the trip as well.
Pouch noted that it is, “… a lot of baseball.”
“It’s an intense trip,” Carone said. “We play ten games in six days. But it’s baseball, so it’s fun.”