WYE MILLS - Chesapeake College baseball coach Frank Szymanski refuses to promote himself.
Szymanski earned his 600th victory with a triumph over Garrett College last season in the Region II Tournament.
“It means I have been coaching a long time,” is basically all Szymanski said of his 22 years at the school.
Szymanski prefers to talk about his players, not himself.
And like many of his teams, the 2022 Skipjacks are loaded with potential.
Szymanski doesn’t know which is more impressive, the returning group of veteran players, or the outstanding crop of freshmen.
Either way, it adds up to another promising season for the Skipjacks, who are off to a 6-2-1 start.
Chesapeake packs a powerful offensive punch and a talented, well-armed pitching staff.
“We were very successful last year,” said Szymanski, whose team won 29 games. “They want to continue to grow and win a lot of games. I think they can be very competitive.”
Chesapeake assistant coach Lee Collinson agrees.
“If the guys keep their energy up, and stay positive,” he said. “They can do anything.”
Many coaches would love to have the Skipjacks’ pitching staff.
“We have a lot of returners,” Szymanski said. “That experience is important. We play in a very difficult league.
Szymanski turned to sophomore right-hander Joe Simonetta to be the No. 1 pitcher.
Simonetta went 5-2 last year with a 4.31 E.R.A. He’s off to a 2-1 start this season.
“Joe is one of our hardest workers and he is improving every day,” Szymanski said. “He wants to be the best player he can possibly be. He brings a lot of leadership and always keeps us in games. He has an excellent fastball, curve and change-up.”
Freshman right-hander Grant Thomas has emerged as a top starter. He pitched four innings in his debut, striking out nine batters in four innings and yielded only one hit in a 20-0 thrashing of Montgomery College in early March.
“We like his command, velocity, poise and confidence,” Szymanski said. “He has unlimited potential.”
Freshman Dylan Young, Alex Brown, Nicholas Warrington, Theron Mrohs, Xavier Silva, Bryce King and Albert Pallasch also contribute to the staff.
Some of the freshmen had an extra year of eligibility because of the pandemic.
“The pitching staff has that focus of throwing strikes and letting the defense do the work,” Collinson said.
The pitchers should get plenty of run support. Freshman Will Glick leads the offense, clubbing a team-leading eight home runs last year while driving in 30 runs.
He’s off to a great start this season with three home runs and 13 RBIs
“He works very hard at his craft,” Collinson said. “He is one of those players that will stay after practice and spend another 45 minutes to an hour doing work in the cage.”
Freshmen Wilfredo Mendez Jr. (OF), Remington Mangum (IF), Jackson Halla (C/OF), Kyle Waters (SS) and Mitch Jolikko (OF)are also a big part of the lineup.