With the Titan baseball team’s spring break trip to Florida just days away, the team is eager to tie up the cleats and hit the diamond once again. The team lost three players who graduated last year: Dante Parente, Cory Pullen and Hunter Alexander. However, Alexander returns to the team this season as an assistant coach.
Alexander, the 2019 team MVP, joined the staff as a hitting coach and mentor to the current catching staff. He is not the only coach in a new role this season, as the College hired Patrick Riley to take over as the new head baseball coach after former coach Kelly Swiney announced he would not return for the 2020 season. Swiney instead accepted the head coach position at the University of Mary Washington. Also, Clay Martin joins the cause as the Titan’s new pitching coach. Martin is a recent graduate of Washington and Jefferson College, where he posted a 3.95 ERA, 48 strikeouts in just over 70 innings pitched and earned All-PAC honors twice in his career.
Aside from the coaching staff, the team will gather around team captains: seniors Tyler Barnot and Frank Cinicola, who was named to the First Team All-PAC last year. Some of the other notable returners include sophomore outfielder Dawson Porter, who despite missing time due to injury came back and had an outstanding .484 batting average. The pitching group can expect to see great contributions from Dante Sienko, Paul Midili, Marcus Masters and Emilio Rivera.
The PAC’s preseason poll ranked the team to finish seventh out of nine teams this season with W&J, Grove City, Bethany and Thiel being the heavy hitters.
2020 PAC Baseball Preseason Coaches' Poll
School (first-place votes)
1. W&J (8)
38-13 (21-3 PAC)
2. Grove City (1)
28-16 (16-7 PAC)
27-16 (14-10 PAC)
17-22 (13-11 PAC)
21-19 (15-9 PAC)
6. Saint Vincent
20-19 (12-12 PAC)
15-21 (10-14 PAC)
7-29 (4-20 PAC)
7-28 (2-21 PAC)
“The Team is looking good; we are working hard. Obviously with the weather we can be a bit limited in what we do, but we will go down to Florida in a few weeks. Overall, the guys are working hard, buying into the mentality. We are definitely very excited, both myself and the other coaches have been impressed with what we’ve seen and we think it will be a good year,” Riley said on WCN’s Coaches Corner show.
“As a coach, your expectation is always to win the conference and advance as far as you can, that’s no different for us. In order to do that, you got to make the playoffs and to do that you have to do well in the conference. Kind of like a domino effect, as we talk about with our guys, we have our long-term goals and advancing. Ultimately all we can control is what we do today and what we can do to get better and stay dedicated, so we can get what we are trying to accomplish. You can have your long-term vision, but you also have to get through short term ideas. That’s the expectation.”
The Titans will open the 2020 season with a doubleheader against D’Youville College on March 8 as part of their spring break trip. Can the Titans get gritty and exceed expectations? Be sure to follow the team’s season on WCN247.com.