Spring Season Just Around the Corner
February 22, 2008
The Tartans had one of their most talented lineups ever in the fall, putting together some great games but coming up short in their quest for the club's first winning season. Most of that team is back and the club is ready to make a run at the conference title in the NCBA.
On the mound, senior Tim Sandy was a nice surprise in the fall after being away from the club for 2 years. Previously an outfielder, Sandy showed that he can also be a key starter for the club. Joining Sandy and long-time ace Jon Coens in the rotation will be freshman Zach Cohen. After joining the team over the winter, Cohen has shown good command and velocity and will be counted on as one of the team's Saturday starters.
In the bullpen, the club has lost Ryan Bottini and Sandy Williams to injuries, setting back what was expected to be a good group. However, former closer and flamethrower James Langhauser has started throwing off the mound again and will be a key reliever. Freshman Francisco Santiago has continued to improve in his mound sessions and will be an important setup man. Also in the bullpen are sophomore Brian Burdulia and junior Jim Spagnola.
On the offensive side, the club is loaded. The entire starting lineup is back from the fall with the exception of Bottini. Going around the horn, senior Ryan Comes anchors the infield at first, while juniors Mike Niedzwiecki and Brett Rehfeld form a nice double play combo. All three had excellent fall seasons, with Niedzwiecki breaking out to the tune of a .392 average and a couple of triples. At third, veteran Aaron Hernley steps in for Bottini and the club shouldn't miss a beat. Hernley might lack Bottini's imposing figure at the plate, but he offers a nice glove, a good bat and plenty of experience for the team. Junior Brian Tabata returns for another season behind the plate. Tabata provides a big bat in the middle of the order and the club has yet to see a better defensive catcher in the NCBA.
The outfield is back in tact from the fall and will boast three key bats for the offense. Sophomore James Langhauser was the club's MVP in center, providing great range, a .441 average and wheels on the bases. Likewise, freshman Joe Seymour played his way to the top of the order with a sweet lefty swing and a .500 batting average in the fall. Tim Sandy will pull double duty, and also serve as the club's starting RF when he isn't pitching. Sandy has some power in his lefty bat along with blazing speed that led to 3 long triples in the fall. When Sandy or Langhauser are pitching, senior Keith Menchin will get the call. Menchin has been a key contributor to the club for 4 years and has never let the team down with a good contact bat and solid defense.
As the injury bug made its way around the Tartans, senior Jim Stedman also got bit with a labrum injury in his throwing shoulder. Jim is a gamer though and is playing through the pain. He'll DH for the club most of the time and play some infield when called on. Joining Stedman as bats off the bench are senior Adam Young and sophomore Yoshi Kim. Both have looked good in practice and will be in a position to get more playing time this season.
The Tartans are scheduled to open up next weekend with Robert Morris, but the weather forecast is not looking promising. If thing clear up, look for the Tartans to take the field at noon at Bellevue Park. Check back here for more updates.