Rowan baseball is in a rare position where foreshadowing can be picked out as it’s unfolding.
While it doesn’t take Nostradamus to tell that a team that wins 25-3 in their season opener is a good baseball team, the Profs’ routing of Stevens this past Sunday revealed much more about the team.
First and foremost is showed that, yes, this team is good at baseball. They did win the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) last year and were unanimously voted as the preseason favorite this year.
With the addition of new players and the rearranging of returning ones, the Brown and Gold have a loaded lineup.
Dillon Mendel can attest.
“For my four years being here, this is by far the most talented team we’ve had,” Mendel said. “We have not only the experience, but the talent to be able to [make the College World Series] this year.”
It’s easy to say that a 25-3 score is a display of pure dominance, but head coach Mike Dickson acknowledged that it wasn’t a perfect game by any means.
“Too many freebies,” Dickson said. “Freebies are walks, hit-by-pitches, and errors. “We always talk about we don’t want to have back-to back freebies. That’s how big run innings start especially against good teams.”
Allowing back-to-back “freebies” was the case more than once on Sunday.
Danny Serreino walked two batters early, Anthony Harrold struck out with the bases loaded, and Andrew Cartier had a wild pitch followed by three walks in the ninth.
What all these freebies were able to positively show, however, was the Profs’ ability to pick each other up. Dillon Mendel turned a double play for Serreino, Mitch Walker hit a grand slam and a ground ball out got Cartier out of a potential nightmare.
This is the mindset that the team thinks will carry them to heights they haven’t been able to reach in the past. Mendel says in the past, the team didn’t feel like a cohesive unit. This year he can tell it has all come together.
“To us, there’s no reason we can’t win the whole thing in our eyes,” Mendel said. “We know how good we are. We think we have what it takes. We have to go out each game and prove that.”
Dickson isn’t worried about the freebies going forward. He’s confident the team has what it takes to be aware of mistakes. Cartier isn’t worried either, despite a scary first performance out of the bullpen that went one inning, allowed an earned run and walked three. Cartier was a starter last year and is now getting into his new role as a closer.
“I’m very confident in my abilities,” Cartier said.” I’m not worried about myself, but that’s definitely something in the future I can learn from and work forward to because as we get further into the season and the games get bigger, the games get closer. That kind of stuff can’t happen.”
Cartier is excited about the new role, not only to show off his fastball, but also because it was the move that was best for the team.
Dickson’s squad isn’t worried about anything other than their own business. Unfazed by preseason polls that some could call disrespectful, they are just ready to do what it takes to win and avenge their early trip home from last year.
“Every single guy on the team wants to get after it and get better,” Mendel said.
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