Hawks Look to Take Flight as New Season Approaches
The College of Southern Maryland Hawks baseball team is gearing up to start their 2018-19 season. Aaron Michael will be guiding the Hawks in his third season as head coach, and his assistant coaches are Todd Snell and Brad Sullivan.
"The boys have been working really hard this year," Michael said. "We're excited about what they're capable of doing and we think that it's just a matter of playing well. If our guys play well then we're going to be pretty successful this year."
CSM's first regular season matchup is a doubleheader against Monroe College - Bronx on February 23. While the weather hasn't given the team many opportunities to practice outside and Michael would like to have more time to prepare his team, he is excited for the season to get underway.
"I would like to think that we're not going to be as good a team on day one as we will be on day 31, but as long as the boys keep working hard and improving then I'm going to be happy no matter how it shakes out," Michael said.
CSM compiled a 15-28 record overall and were 4-22 in MDJUCO last year. The team scored 191 runs, hit 16 home runs, and posted a .246/.363/.336 slash line.
To get better and have a successful season, Michael wants his players to strive to always improve and keep a positive mindset.
"We stress the importance of focus, we stress the importance of preparing everyday and treating each day as another opportunity to get better," coach Michael said. "As long as they're continuing to do that, then they'll meet adversity head on, they're not going to shy away from it. I don't see this team doing that."
"Matt and Seth are returning players, Scott was here with the program last year but he hasn't played yet with us so it's his first year playing, and he's another guy that we're looking to see how he's going to do," Michael said. "He's been around, he knows what it takes and what to expect, and he's been a good leader for the team."
Schnoor and Morrison played in 27 games last season. Schnoor hit one home run, stole three bases, and hit .175/.389/.275. Morrison had 18 hits, 13 runs batted in, and hit .273/.355/.318.
Hitt played in 33 games last season. He registered 15 hits, one triple, one home run, seven stolen bases, and had a .221 batting average, .308 on base percentage, and .324 slugging percentage. Fitch had 17 hits, nine stolen bases, and a .279/.389/.295 slash line in 27 games.
Rickett and Norris will look to anchor the Hawks' pitching rotation. In 10 appearances, Rickett started seven games, pitched 32.0 innings, went 1-4, struck out 40 batters, and had 11.25 strikeouts per nine innings pitched. Norris went 2-2 in four games started, threw a complete game, and struck out 19 batters in 17 innings pitched.
Like many teams, the Hawks want to see themselves in the playoffs at the end of the season.
"One of the big things that we've been talking about since day one is we want to make the playoffs," coach Michael said. "We want to try to get ourselves a chance in the postseason to see how good a team we can be. Our goal is to give ourselves that opportunity to get to the playoffs and give ourselves an opportunity to see just how good we are."
Even if they don't reach the postseason, coach Michael still wants his players to learn something about themselves and enjoy the game.
"Number one I hope that they learn something about the game, that they are better ballplayers, better men, competitors for coming through the program. I want them to have a good time, but I also want them to understand that this is something that's not rec ball, this is competitive. If they do all the things that we are teaching them to do and they show up and prepare themselves the way that they're supposed to prepare, then they'll win some games, and that's having fun. A lot of it's going to be predicated on how dedicated they are to doing well this year, and if they do their jobs, they're going to enjoy themselves."