As their final year here at St. Mary’s comes to an end, a few of the seniors on the baseball team took the time to reflect back on their time as being a Seahawk on and off the field.
Senior Anthony Cangelosi, a sociology major, has played baseball for the Seahawks for four years. After graduation, he will serve as a Programs intern for the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation where he will help coordinate and implement outreach events geared towards underprivileged youth living in America’s most distressed communities. He will also be serving as a Marketing and Business Intern for the Frederick Keys, a Minor League affiliate for the Baltimore Orioles, where he will be assisting game day operations. Cangelosi said, “this is my plan for the summer and fall and I will look to continue my path to where I can combine my love for sports while helping people in the community.”
It isn’t hard to figure out why someone like Cangelosi would want to follow his love of baseball after his time at St. Mary’s comes to an end. Cangelosi has been playing baseball since he was eight years old and on a little league team; he has played ever since. He says that the highlight of his time here has been “all of the times that I’ve been fortunate enough to strap on my cleats, grab my glove, and take the field with my teammates every day.”
Cangelosi also says that he would be open to playing for an adult league/slow pitch softball after he graduates. “I’d also love to coach for my own kids one day or for underprivileged youth teams who are in need of coaching/role models,” he said.
Dane Pepper, a TFMS major with a history minor, also looks back on his time on the baseball team fondly. He was originally recruited to St. Mary’s to play basketball, but retired after just one season. He says that when he was preparing for his senior year, he saw an all student email by the new head coach Bernie Stratchko that invited any St. Mary’s student to try out for the baseball team, and tried out as a walk-on. He says “Coach Bernie is in his first season and I appreciate that he took a chance on me. I also really like that many of the assistant coaches are former players here and as a result relate and understand to our experience. Although I never played for former Coach Lou Jenkins, I respect how vital he was in building this program and it is an honor to see him at games and talk baseball with him.”
Pepper says the best part of his baseball career here has been starting it, and that he looks forward to playing baseball under the sun for the remainder of the season.
“The lessons I have learned playing baseball extend beyond the white lines of the diamond and have taught me that going out of my comfort zone and giving effort beyond what is expected are the keys to success, especially when I am playing for my teammates… I couldn’t imagine a better group of guys. Our record doesn’t reflect our attitude or mentality. Every day at practice I see everybody giving maximum effort to get better and contribute to our team.”
Pepper speaks of his fellow seniors, saying “they have set the standard which I have always attempted to emulate as a new member of the team. Matt Bieler is our senior catcher and on 5 different occasions he has been hit by a pitch that the umpire decided was hit by pitch; just watching him put his body on the line for first base always made me play harder. Nick Raimondo has been a good friend of mine since freshman year and a crucial leader in the dugout. Finally, Zach Rowe has done nothing but lead by example and has set the tone every day in practice.”
Bieler, an economics major, has played on the team for two years. He hopes to become a financial analyst after graduation.
“The team here at SMCM is different from any other team that I have been on because I live with my teammates and go about day-to-day activities with them. At my community college where I previously played, I only practiced, played, and went to classes with the guys. Being able to live with my teammates here at SMCM makes me feel like I have a stronger bond with them on the field. “
Like his teammates, Bieler hopes to continue embracing his love for the sport. “There’s a chance that I might keep playing baseball on a summer team after graduation, but that is still to be determined. However, I would love to coach with the youth teams or even my high school in my hometown.”
Bieler speaks well of his coaches and teammates too. “The coaches here are awesome. Not only do they push you to be the best player that you can be, they push you to be the best person that you can be. They have also emphasized that there is more to life than just baseball and that you should do everything you can to the best of your ability, because no day is ever promised… As cliche as this sounds, my teammates are my second family. They are brothers to me. We go through everything together. Whether it’s good times or bad times, I know they have my back and that I have theirs.”