By Andrew Beers
With the DeSales baseball team selected second in the MAC conference preseason poll, head coach Timothy Neiman is expecting a phenomenal season. The Bulldogs are looking to smash the competition and their rival Misericordia University, who is seeded first in the conference. Last season, the baseball team finished the season 29-15 overall and 17-4 in the conference. The team lost to Misericordia in their final game and did not take home the MAC Championship title. Fortunately, many top returners and talented freshman have added depth to the roster and will hopefully lead the team to playoff victory as well as a shot at the NCAA Title.
“We have a veteran club returning on the offensive end for sure. A very talented outfield core, three quality catchers and a solid infield group,” remarked Neiman. “We do expect to be productive with a nice mix of speed and punch in the line-up.”
Senior Charlie Barebo will be returning for his second and final season as a Bulldog. Barebo finished last season with a batting average of .356 with 34 RBIs and 4 home runs. Barebo was named the MAC Freedom Player of the Year and named to All-MAC Freedom First-Team. Senior Nick White will be returning for his final season as well. White ranked third on the team and had a batting average of .320 with 19 RBIs and 3 home runs, and was named to All-MAC Freedom Second-Team. Junior Sergio Diaz showed potential last season as a younger performer. Diaz had a batting average of .250 with 30 RBIs and 5 home runs. Young freshman talent arose this year and Neiman is excited to explore the talent in the freshman depth. Including six freshman pitchers added to the roster, Neiman is expecting the veterans on the mound to lead the freshman to their full potential.
“Our simple goal is to always extend our season,” said Neiman when asked about the goal for the season. “How do you extend it? Get in the playoffs and then you extended it.”
Neiman is expecting to play in the playoffs to extend the baseball season. He has been the coach for 30 years, and he explained how extending the season has always been the goal for the team. Neiman hopes the team will not only play in the playoffs, but win the playoffs and advance to the NCAA tournament.
“We’re very excited to get in [the new stadium]. It is supposed to be completed in March,” commented Neiman.
The team will be playing at the new stadium along Preston Lane. Work began for the stadium over the summer and is predicted to be finished in the beginning of March for the season opener on March 15 against King’s College. The public stadium will be open to collegiate gameplay as well as high school tournaments. Before their official MAC conference season begins, the team will begin their gameplay over spring break in Florida where they will participate in six games in seven days.