The men’s baseball team is off to a fast start. They have won four of their first six games including a convincing 8-1 victory versus Chipola College, the top-ranked state college school in the country.
“We weren’t really focused on their rankings or anything like that,” said sophomore outfielder Luis Guerrero about the win versus Chipola College. “We were just focused on playing as a team and getting a win.”
The Sharks’ strong start has been supported by some gaudy numbers. The team has a .463 batting average (second in the National Junior College Athletic Association), a 1.80 earned run average and they have scored 25 runs.
Despite the early success, head coach Danny Price wants the team to show steady growth throughout the season.
Thus far, the team’s consistency has come from its defense and some exceptional hitting from its freshmen.
Pitcher/infielder Chris Bohrer has put together a stellar start. He is batting a team-leading .600 with 10 runs and two doubles. He also has an on base percentage of .714 and a slugging percentage of .800 in 14 plate appearances.
Infielder Raphy Almanzar-Rosario is hitting .455 with four stolen bases and five walks in five games.
Price reiterates that now is not the time to get complacent. He demands that each player know his role in order to keep the unit cohesive. His high standards have fostered a competitive edge that has defined the young season. He is known for saying: “Every position is earned, not given.”
Sophomore Mike Alicea is confident the team is trending in the right direction.
Alicea, who is coming off wrist surgery to repair a broken wrist, an injury he sustained in the State Championship game last season, and a fractured jaw he suffered on Dec.1 during preseason practice, is struggling to recover. In 15 plate appearances, he has batted in four runs and added two doubles to go with a paltry .133 batting average and a .267 slugging average.
“Everything is going as smooth as planned,” Alicea said. “You have to overcome and work on mental toughness.”
The depth of the bench has also made an impact on the Sharks’ early success. If some players underperform, Price can turn to players on the bench to keep the team fresh and motivated. The team has four different players hitting above .400 on the season.
”Any key to any team is the depth of your bench,” Price said. “The players on the bench have to be mentally locked in on every play.”
The Sharks next game is at the baseball field at Kendall Campus, 11011 S.W. 104th St., on Feb. 12 versus the St. Thomas University junior varsity team at 3 p.m.