Baseball team picked high in MIAA, hopes to finish first

The preseason rankings and honors are out, and now it’s time for the Griffons to live up to their high billing. After posting a 34-17 record last year, the baseball team is bringing out the bats in hopes of having an even more productive season than last year. This season, the team is filled with players who have been on the team for years, and their leadership will be needed as they start another season. Head coach Buzz Verduzco feels that this season will be just like any other season, but the fact that they are ranked as a Top-2 team in the MIAA does heighten up the expectations. “I think like any other year we have high expectations,” Verduzco said. “This year might be a little different because we have a pretty veteran group. They are coming off a pretty good season last year so I think that players and the coaches have some pretty high hopes as far as where we can finish in the conference and regionally.” Verduzco noted that this years' roster is deeper than in the past. The combination of transfers and veterans gives him fresh legs for their long season. “I think with as many junior and senior type kids that we have, if any body goes down or falls through, we have somebody else to pick them up,” Verduzco said. “We are deeper than what we have been in the past.” Personality is one of the things that the program pays attention to when picking up transfers from around the country. Verduzco said that this year will be no different. “We are really big on the type of character a player is when he comes to our program,” Verduzco said. “These men are just awesome guys. They are great teammates and they have been able to fit in with what we do here as well as being able to play with the guys who are playing.” The Griffons enter the season with five players being named to the all-Region team. Brandon Simmons (RHP), Spencer Shockley (1B), and Grant Fink (3B) are three of the seniors that where named to the all-Region first team. Senior designated hitter Nate Ramier and Junior SS Michael Schulze were named to the all-Region second team. Spencer Shockley hopes to bring some veteran leadership to the team as well as a championship in his last season with the team. “I am expecting to finish pretty high up,” Shockley said. “Hopefully take first in conference, get to a regional, and see what we can do from there. I want to bring some good leadership to the team, get my bat going as well as keeping good momentum.” Brandon Simmons expectations and hopes are as big as Shockley’s. Both players spoke very heavily about improving from last year and bringing leadership. Simmons said he was excited for another season with new players and winning is the top priority for them. “We have a lot of returning guys, plus some better guys,” Simmons said. “I expect for us to be better. I just want to bring everyone together and play like a team. We get along well, we bond like a family and we are definitely confident.”

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