By Anthony Fabrikant
ESU’s baseball team will kick off their 2016 regular season with a pair of non-conference games in North Carolina when they travel to Murfreesboro to face the Chowan Hawks.
The Warriors will participate in a doubleheader on Feb. 20, and they will play their third game of the weekend before heading back to ESU.
This season offers plenty of promise, and the preseason polls and All-Region teams solidify the claim.
The Warriors are ranked sixth in the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) Division II Atlantic Region preseason poll, which is one spot better than West Chester (seventh) and four ahead of Shippensburg (tenth).
The Warriors found plenty of success in 2015 as they won 31 games and found themselves in the PSAC championship where their season fell just short of a PSAC title against Millersville.
Although the Warriors were not able to win their second PSAC title in 2015, the team is primed for a deep postseason run. They are headlined with four players being named to the preseason All-Region team.
Junior Ian Allen was the lone player named to the NCBWA Division II Atlantic Region preseason All-Region first team. But the second team consisted of junior relief pitcher Tyler Eckman, senior first-baseman Dylan Tamecki and redshirt-junior third-baseman Jay Young.
Tamecki is the leading returner in RBI as he drove in 54 runs in during 2015. Allen was lethal at the plate, knocking in 47 RBI and eight home runs while maintaining a batting average of .357.
Eckman made 40 appearances in 2015, pitching 40.1 innings and accumulating 35 strikeouts while only walking 13 batters.
Finally, Young hit 40 RBI in 2015, batted .396 and hit 11 doubles for the Warriors.
Head coach John Kochmansky is heading into his ninth season as the leader for ESU’s baseball team.
He has turned the team into annual contenders in the PSAC, having won the conference in 2013.
Kochmansky has led the Warriors to 30-win seasons three times and has had seven consecutive winning seasons, which is the longest stretch since their 1951-1971 run.
During the last seven seasons, Kochmansky has led the Warriors to a 202-137 record and aided in the development of his players like Eckman, who set the school record in 2015 by earning nine saves.
Coach Kochmansky is optimistic with what he feels will be a batting line-up that is “nine-deep,” which won’t afford opposing pitchers the ability to pitch around any of the volatile bats in the line-up.
Kochmansky acknowledged that the experience of the team is a strength but also stated that they “cannot dwell in the past” when considering their loss in the conference championship last season.
Kochmansky says that although the expectations are high because of the team’s potential, the team needs to be mature in their approach to the game and stay healthy while also staying hungry.
The PSAC East is an extremely competitive division, and Kochmansky acknowledged that in any given weekend, a team could play well and still find themselves only winning three out of four games.
The Warriors baseball team boasts talent, experience and leadership. The combination of the three could have thrilling, championship-like results.
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