For most college students, a spring break trip to Florida is a vacation, a break from work and a time to relax. For the College’s baseball team, their annual spring trip to Florida was anything but a vacation.
The Lions played nine games in just eight days and finished their trip with a respectable record of five wins and four losses. The team’s five wins were the most victories the College has won in Florida in the three years since the Lions began their annual Florida season-opening trip.
The College opened its season against No. 17 Wheaton College with a tough 11-4 loss in Winter Haven. The Lions were scheduled to open their season on Friday, March 1, with a doubleheader at Immaculata University, which was canceled due to snow. The two sides are looking to reschedule those games. Oswego State was ready to visit the Lions the following day, but that game was also canceled due to snow.
The Lions’ pitching rotation in Florida was led by junior pitcher Connor Smith, who went 2-0 in his two starts, with two complete games and a stellar 1.69 ERA. This is Smith’s first season playing for the College after transferring from Division l Wagner College.
The entire pitching staff, including the bullpen, combined for an admirable ERA of 4.67.
The pitchers were not the only one to excel in the warm weather. The Lions offense was firing on all cylinders with a combined batting average of .307, with nine different Lions hitting over .300. However, when the Lions were not driving the ball, they showed great patience at the plate. The College totaled 23 walks during their nine-game swing, including a team high of nine by junior outfielder Joe Dispoto. This all led to the Lions having a stellar .370 on-base percentage.
All in all, the Lions enjoyed a very successful season-opening trip — from hitting to pitching to defense, the Lions were strong in every aspect of the game.
This season, the Lions will look to exceed last season’s success when the College finished sixth in the NJAC, but fell to Ramapo College in the second round.
The Florida trip was the first step in the right direction to doing just that.