Despite all of the changes that the coronavirus pandemic has wrought, the sound of a bat and ball is inevitable. The clock is quickly ticking down until the Saints’ 2021 baseball season starts, and the team is surely hoping that they can improve upon their record from 2020, a season that got cut short after seventeen games. Coach Tony Rossi will be returning to the helm for his fifty-second season skippering the Saints, and thankfully, things do seem positive for them this season.
One thing that Coach Rossi noted last semester was his team had come together stronger than they ever had before, something that shone despite the team’s record. In 2021, the Saints will be returning the entire pitching staff and several of the MAAC’s strongest players, among them senior transfer third baseman Pat O’Hare, who led the Metro Atlantic in batting average (.367) in on-base percentage, reaching 52.3 percent of the time. O’Hare, who notched nineteen hits over sixteen games last season, tied for the most in the conference, is positioned to help carry the Saints this coming season.
To expect this season to go off without a hitch seems a bit of wishful thinking, but the Saints definitely have good things going for them this coming season, particularly the hopeful return to some sense of normalcy by playing their full season slate’s worth of forty games this coming spring.
Saints fans can take solace in the fact that the team has a far better chance at competing this coming season, given their addition at third base as well as the opening to their schedule. The Saints will be starting the season against two teams that went a combined nine and seventeen last season, Niagara University and Monmouth.
The Saints’ Mike McMully shows great promise as well; after finishing the 2019 campaign with a 5.28 earned run average over eighteen appearances, the 6’3” right-hander slashed that to a 1.59 in the only appearance the pandemic-shortened season allowed him.
On the other side of the plate trying to drive up earned run averages, #17 O’Hare led the pack of the Saints’ everyday lineup, with Ryan McGee #4 close behind and #16 Johnathan Crimmin and #31 Bryce Mordecki stacking hits, helping add to the Saints’ six total home runs over the shortened season.
Considering the pandemic, the Saints have had to make several changes to their practice schedule, breaking the team down into small groups so that they can safely abide by social distancing guidelines, and this year the potential for success has only grown. In the words of third baseman Patrick O’Hare, the pitching staff has made significant strides, and each arm has the potential to contribute significantly to the team this season.
The always-solid hitting is sure to come back stronger this season. Despite the fact that predictions have the team finishing in ninth place in the MAAC this coming season, squad optimism is incredibly strong. The team hopes to make it through the championship and potentially on to regionals. They can only improve from last season, and will have benefited immensely from having to learn, adapt, improvise and overcome as best as possible last year. The Saints are fired up; in the words of Patrick O’Hare, the team supports its members all the way through, and the energy that its members bring to practice every time is electric, full of energy; treating each practice like game day.
This team shows promise, Siena College. Come cheer them on when in-person attendance is allowed again April 2nd. Until then, go Saints!