Despite the recent balmy weather, baseball season hasn’t officially started yet, but Seahawks Head Coach Lewis Jenkins thinks the upcoming spring will be a good one. Last year, the team had a winning record with 19 wins and 16 losses; rainouts and schedule changes prevented them from reaching 20 wins, which Jenkins hopes to reach this season.
Jenkins says the team’s batting has improved a little more than in past seasons, and he believes the fielding will be solid, despite the team’s loss of 12 members from last season. “[We’ll] miss some of them this year,” Jenkins said, especially in fielding, since some of the players were “very good defensively.”
Regardless, Jenkins is convinced that the team’s upcoming success depends on the pitcher’s mound. “How far we go depends on how our pitching holds up,” he said. Right now, the three starting pitchers for the Seahawks are captains Mike Victory and Devon Jerrard, both seniors, and junior Wick Eisenberg. Jenkins feels very positively about the pitching roster, with a strong starting lineup and solid relief pitchers. That’s due in part to Assistant Coach Hal Willard, who works with the pitchers. “He’s doing a good job … [the pitchers] respond very well to him.”
The team as a whole is strong too, Jenkins said. “I feel very good about our team this year. They seem to be more together as a group than they’ve been in the past.” Victory agrees that the team’s unity has improved. “The attitude and drive of the team really started to turn around last year… Our biggest strength is our team chemistry. We stepped up last year and became a loud, rowdy bunch.”
Jerrard agrees, noting that last year’s record proved that a winning season is entirely possible. “Although last year we were competitive,” Jerrard said, “I think this year’s team will be better. Our powerful lineup complements our very reliable pitching staff.”
Hopefully the team’s hard work will pay off in their opening double-header on Feb. 11 at Randolph Macon College. Victory noted that Randolph Macon is “a good benchmark” for the upcoming season. “I expect to come home from the weekend with a few wins and something to build on,” Victory said.
The Seahawks’ home opener is Feb. 18 against the City College of New York. At that game, President Urgo will throw the first pitch and present the lineup card to the umpires. In his 19 years at the College, Jenkins said this is the first time a president has partaken in this tradition. “I just think that’s good,” Jenkins said. “He’s willing to do it. That’s good.” Additionally, Jenkins said, other faculty and staff will be throwing the first pitch throughout the season, such as the team’s faculty advisor, Assistant Professor of Computer Science Alan Jamieson.
Overall, the team seems ready to get started. “I could not be more excited about this season,” Victory said. “This year, we have all the pieces in place.”