Athletics News

Baseball

’Jacks use fall to evaluate crowded roster
Forty-plus players try out after last spring’s World Series appearance

By RICHARD MIDCAP

Special to The Star Democrat

WYE MILLS, September 19 – Everyone wants to be part of a winner.

That seems to be the lesson with Chesapeake College’s baseball team. Coming off last spring’s Region XX and Northeast District championships – not to mention the Skipjacks’ first Junior College World Series appearance – more than 40 players turned out for fall baseball workouts.

"It’s definitely a challenge to have that many players out, but that’s why we have days where we play four games," said head coach Frank Szymanski, referring to Saturday’s back-to-back doubleheaders against Mt. Airy American Legion and CCBC-Essex.

"That gave us the ability to provide everyone with a good number of at bats and a number of plays in the field," said Szymanski, whose team split both doubleheaders. "It really worked out well because the whole roster received plenty of playing time."

The Skipjacks are currently 7-3, but Szymanski said piling up fall-season wins isn’t his top priority.

"Obviously we want to win, but it’s more about seeing all our players," said Szymanski.

All 13 of last season’s freshmen – including World Series all-tournament choice Justin Armiger, Northeast District Series Most Valuable Player Nick Lemmer, third-team all-American Will Delawter, and all-region selection Mike Kelch – have returned for a second season. That gives the Skipjacks a solid nucleus, but Szymanski emphasized that last year’s accomplishments are ancient history as far as he’s concerned.

"We have to continue to get better every day," said Szymanski. "We have a lot of new guys and the returners have helped them out a lot. They (the sophomores) know what kind of effort we need day-in and day-out."

There were plenty of highlights during Saturday’s marathon. Robbie Windsor had a two-run triple in the 9-3 win over Mt. Airy, and Taylor Leeson had a key, two-run double as the Skipjacks beat CCBC-Essex, 7-5, in Game 2 of that twin bill to earn a split.

The Skipjacks also salvaged a split Sunday against the University of Maryland club team as sophomore Anthony Archie crashed a three-run homer to carry Chesapeake to a 5-3 win in Game 2 of that doubleheader. Szymanski said playing a night doubleheader at the University of Maryland was a great experience for the team.

"That was a club team, but there was a lot of talent on that team," said Szymanski. "And playing at night, on a Division I field, in College Park was something our kids are going to remember for a long time."

The Skipjacks travel to Baltimore Wednesday to play Villa Julie College, then participate in a high-octane, three-day weekend tournament hosted by Delaware Tech/Georgetown.

Chesapeake will play 2001 World Series champ Del Tech, fellow 2005 World Series participant Brookdale (N.J.) Community College, and perennial Region XX power Cecil Community College as part of its five-game schedule. The Skipjacks will also play 2005 Region XX tournament participant Baltimore City Community College and Sussex (N.J.) Community College.

"The competition will be unbelievable," said Szymanski. "We’re looking forward to this weekend."

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