Dean College Baseball travels to south today to kick off their season with a 10 game swing. Head Coach Ernie May is in his first season at Dean. He is excited about his club's potential as they enter their first year in the USCAA while the college transitions to full time NCAA D3 status.
"The number one thing for us, throughout the fall and early spring, is getting an opportunity to understand where these guys fit in the puzzle," May said. "We are working to find where they are going to succeed best at every position."
May mentioned a smaller roster size as one of the challenges and opportunities for his squad. He said, "Going from 38 guys down to 22 forces us to be really specific on players' roles. We will have to plug and play guys in different spots and we have a handful of guys that will be playing dual roles."
With only one senior and no juniors on the roster, May talked at length about the natural leaders that have developed over the pre season. "Our one senior, Jon Lawlor, is a two sport athlete. He's played golf and baseball here at Dean. He has been a team leader for us due to his age and maturity. Retsyn Ootton has stepped up as our default leader. He is a sophomore 3B. His leadership in intrinsic and we'll be huge for us this year."
May mentioned Victor Paiva JR, Jason Bottone, Javier Garmon, and Jose Quiroz as his top pitchers going into the year. He stressed the importance of their ability to adopt different roles, as starters and relievers, or as a bit of both.
May discussed first base as a position that could be manned by a few players. "Lombardi can play there, C.J. Ponce can play there, and Ootton as well," he said. "Our infield is very interchangeable. Tristan Spiller, Kyle Priest can play second, John Cerretani, Kyle Wynn, Javier Garmon, and Priest can all play short. Retsyn Ootton is locked in at 3B, but he can play first base as well if we need him to.
In the outfield there is a bit more consistency. Daniel Blazejewski will start in CF. He is "a sophomore with pretty good potential to play outside of college." Christopher Wood will be the RF. Left field is up for grabs with a couple young players vying for a spot, May mentioned Ponce and Aldo Ripley.
DH will likely be Conor Callery. May is confident in his ability to hit situationally and to put the bat on the ball. He also mentioned newcomer Mitch Leblanc. "Mitch is a lefty that can catch, play 3B or 1B. His bat brings us something we didn't have from the left side."
Dean starts its season on March 4th with a contest at Washington College at 12 PM.
May has high hopes for his first season. "We are looking forward to hopefully having an opportunity to make the USCAA playoffs," he said. "Baseball is one of those funny sports where anybody can beat anybody on a certain day, but if we do what we are supposed to do, I think we will be fine."