A walk-off RBI single by junior utility fielder Anthony Torreullas helped ESU Baseball take three out of four games from the West Chester University Golden Rams last weekend.
This was the first time that ESU won three games in a home-and-away doubleheader against West Chester since 2013.
2013 was also the last time that the Warriors won a Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Championship.
Head Coach John Kochmansky said, “West Chester is in our league. So we play them every year, and we’re not intimidated by them.”
ESU finished last season with a record of 22-21. This year’s team has already won 22 games, and there is still a third of a season’s worth of games left to play.
“Last season, the team was extremely young. This year, we are still relatively young, but we have a little bit more experience. And like the old saying, there is no substitute for experience. And that is certainly one reason,” stated Kochmansky.
There is a famous old saying that pitching is two-thirds of baseball. Last year’s team had a team ERA of 5.96.
This year’s team had an ERA of 3.93 going into last weekend’s set of games against West Chester. That improvement in pitching has translated to wins.
“We went out and were able to bring in quite a bit of pitching depth,” Kochmansky said. “Our pitching is a lot better than last year.”
Freshman Logan Stirr had big games against Lock Haven and was rewarded by being named PSAC Baseball Eastern Division Athlete of the Week.
Kochmansky had a lot of praise for Stirr.
“Logan is a big, strong offensive player. We certainly were hoping that as a freshman, he would be able to contribute as he has,” Kochmansky said. Given the performance of the freshman, there’s
In addition to the younger student-athletes, transfer students have also helped impact the Warrior baseball program.
“We certainly don’t build our program on transfers, but we tend to fill holes with them,” Kochmansky said.
Kochmansky cited transfer junior pitcher Cam Voss as helping solidify the pitching staff, but Voss was not the only one.
Another notable transfer has been Torreullas, whose addition in the fall added depth and strength to the lineup.
The head coach was also proud of the leadership and production of his upperclassmen.
The performance of these older players
This year’s team also features student-athletes with very colorful names. Between guys named Zarley Cina, Brainy Rojas and Sirwalter Melendez, who has the best name?
This is the first season where ESU Baseball will be playing its home games off campus at the Creekview Park Complex. The Warriors are playing on a new state-of-the-art baseball field that is all-turf.
“It’s exciting,” Kochmansky stated. “It’s everything we were hoping that it would be. It has created a buzz in the community.”
That buzz should translate to the recruiting trail and the featured turf should ease the minds of coaches and players who had to worry about maintenance at their former ground, Mitterling Field.
The field is located two miles off campus, but Kochmansky does not see the short commute as being a hindrance.
Ian Allen, a 2017 ESU graduate and former player, has returned to the program as a graduate assistant. Kochmansky credits Allen for being able to talk to his student-athletes about the rigors of playing in the PSAC.
Kochmansky is also keeping an eye on ESU alumnus Matt Festa. Festa graduated ESU in 2016 and is now pitching in the Major Leagues for the Seattle Mariners. He has kept in contact with the former Warrior, and Festa just turned in a good performance while the Mariners were in Japan.
The early success of the team can be traced back to their enthusiasm and chemistry with one another.
“This team really loves to play the game of baseball,” Kochmansky said. “They have an enjoyment for it like no other team that I have had at ESU,” Kochmansy said.”
It’s this close-knit bond that allows teammates to teach one another and help improve each other’s game without anyone feeling slighted.
The outlook for this team is bright and their sights are set on the PSAC Tournament and the NCAA regionals.
“Every team goes through adversity, so we will see how it all plays out. But I know that they are going to play hard, and they are going to enjoy the ride they are on,”stated Kochmansky.
The Warriors (22-9, 9-3) will travel to play Bloomsburg (17-8, 7-5) in a road doubleheader tomorrow.
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