Spring Sports Teams Prepare for Successful Upcoming Season

Owen Brown, Sports Writer

The team came into the fall off an 11-27 record the past spring. For most players, it was their first time truly getting a chance to play a baseball season, with the 2020 and 2021 seasons getting cut short due to the ongoing pandemic. With this experience, the team truly understood what areas of improvement and planning they needed to make, in order to turn their fortunes around.

While the fundamentals of the game itself are important, the team has put an emphasis on working on team chemistry, which in turn they feel will help them come together and win ballgames. As a result, everyone from top to bottom is looking to learn and better themselves to help the team.

“Going through this fall, I feel like this team has a lot more chemistry and positivity in making each other better, but also making sure guys get the job done correctly and in the most efficient way,” said Randy Adams ‘23. “We do have a young group, but what makes us different is that our young guys are willing to learn and understand the right and wrong things for a successful program,” he continued.

The young group contains 12 underclassmen, including seven freshmen. The team recently came off a doubleheader sweep against Columbia-Greene Community College and has felt improvement in all assets of their game.

On the pitching side, location and control of their pitches had been the main focal point of improvement during the fall.

“That was probably our biggest problem last year, which ultimately led us to losing a lot of games,” said Nate Morse ‘24. “We had a lot of talent, but it was not maximized solely to location issues. Things like first pitch strikes and avoiding 3-0 counts was a main focus this fall, and I feel we have drastically improved on throwing strikes and I believe it will really help us this upcoming spring,” he continued.

For position players, it was the defensive side of the game that saw the biggest change.

“I feel like the biggest thing worked on in the fall is our defense,” said Adams. “Guys have shown up to practice early working on their hands and feet in order to make routine plays and help the team.”

The team overall is excited to have made the changes necessary in order to have a winning season and encourages the fans to continue showing support and help elevate their play come game time.

The team went into the fall coming off a 5-30 season this past spring. The team itself only had 12 players in the spring, with only one senior having played a full softball season before the pandemic. With ten freshmen joining the team this year, the team feels that it helps take the pressure regarding proper rest and injury concerns away.

“I think the biggest issue we had was numbers,” said Sydney Mathews ‘25. “We didn’t have enough players for different positions, so we all had injuries constantly that didn’t get the rest they needed. But with the freshman, we have a lot more backup for everyone,” she continued.

In addition, changes have been made in how they go about practicing and training to become the best players they can be, in the form of physical testing. Baird is proud of how the players have adjusted and followed the guidelines

“One of the new things we’re doing is we’re incorporating some physical testing,” she said. “The team has been great about lifting, both in the offseason here with Coach Raber, but now we’re incorporating some conditional testing to make sure we are continuing to get better, already I’ve seen the hard work they’ve been putting in.”

With the overall changes the team has made from practice and training both on and off the field, along with more depth on the roster, the team expects a successful season come spring.

Men’s Lacrosse: 
After playing their first full season since the program began in 2020, the team entered the fall coming off a 4-9 season. The team was well below average in terms of roster size the previous season, with only 15 players, but has recruited ten new players.

Even during the recruiting process, head coach Kevin Pezanowski made sure that incoming freshmen knew expectations regarding the program, and made sure current players were involved, so none of them would feel blindsided when coming to campus. The goal for him would allow the team chemistry to be created early in the process, so everyone knew what to work for.

“I think the chemistry is really good, and part of that is the recruiting process,” said Pezanowski. “I think it really falls back to that, making sure players are involved in the recruiting process, so when these players come in, there’s already an established connection, and we make sure that incoming players are pretty clear about responsibilities, but then we also make clear that the captains, how they contributed to the team in the past, and we really make sure that players understand that there are roles that everyone can fill,” he continued.

While the program itself is still relatively new and continuously developing, the team has described themselves as hungry, and ready to go at it. Having a full roster, the team sets its sight on a real chance of coming home with an NAC championship.

As the team came into the fall season, the biggest area that was worked on was understanding the routine of being an MCLA men’s lacrosse player. Being a younger team, Pezanowski understands that they are not going to collectively be the team they strive to be right away but will be able to do so through repetition and understanding the plays.

“We are not going to be able to accomplish being the team we want to be the last game of the season right now,” said Pezanowski. “Overall, the team itself when we finish the fall has a good idea of how we run practice, we set the goal now going over drills every day and adding to that repertoire of what we have to do, so when we get back at things in January, we are not wasting time doing nuts and bolts things, we can really start to hone in on what our offense needs to do and what our defense needs to do.”

With much of the roster finally having a full season under their belts, the leadership, along with depth and talent, will be crucial as the team sets the goal of winning the conference, and setting up a foundation for years to come.

Women’s Lacrosse: 
The team entered the fall season coming off a 1-11 record in the spring. For many of the athletes, it was their first time ever playing the sport, trying to get a feel for the game, and understanding the fundamentals that come with it. Now, the team is feeling a new hope and confidence going into the fall and the spring season.

“Throughout last fall ball, the practices were high energy, motivating, and all around just a fun environment to be in,” said Summer Nichols ‘25. “This year has not changed a bit. Our attitude, motivation, and skill are all still there. Integrating more girls and getting the flow of the team back on track is the main focus. This team is the best.”

While on the field, the biggest area of improvement was the overall mental approach to the game. Having the lacrosse experience, along with no pressure during the fall season helped the team overall develop their physical side to the game as well as the confidence they want to have during the spring season.
In addition, the team has put an emphasis on developing the chemistry off the field too. Many of the players live together in the townhouses and help to create activities to do for the rest of the team to partake in.

“Although we just started preseason the team is really close,” said Lori Lester ‘25. “Some of the team actually lives in the same townhouse together…Just last week we had a team dinner and are really connected with one another,” she continued.

With confidence and gaining experience in every practice, the team is eager to step onto the field come the spring and encourages the fans to come out and support them.

“We’re ready to put up a good fight. You won’t want to miss out,” said Nichols.