After having a record of 45-16 in 2008, West Chester University’s baseball team was picked to finish in first place in the PSAC Eastern Division by the league’s head coaches in a preseason ballot.”With success comes expectations,” head coach Greg Mamula said after being asked if there is any added pressure for him or his players going into this year’s season to finish in first place in the PSAC East. “Our ultimate on-field goal is not to win the PSAC, Regional or World Series but rather to become the best baseball team that we can. We realize that if we continue to improve and grow as a team, we will be successful in reaching our goal. We also believe that if we reach that goal we will most likely have won our share of games and possibly championships.”
It is clear that with the talent on this team that the sky is the limit for them. According to the latest Collegiate Baseball Division II poll West Chester is ranked 10th nationally. Last season, Mamula’s team finished just one game back of the division champion Millersville, tied for second place with Kutztown. Qualifying for the PSAC postseason tournament the Rams made it all the way to the championship series where they came up short against Kutztown.
Opening the season Feb. 14 on the road the Rams took on No. 26 ranked Lincoln Memorial in a double header at Hannon Field in Tennessee. In the first game, the Rams fell behind 6-1 in the early innings and were never able to recover. They dropped game one to Lincoln Memorial 7-6.
In game two of the double header the Golden Rams came out on top with a 3-2 victory, evening their record at 1-1. Bret Moyer earned his first win of the season as he only gave up two hits in five innings of work. Eric Carmichael came on to pitch the final two innings as he recorded his first save of the season.
West Chester took game three of the series 5-2. Matt Cotellesse was 2-3 with two runs scored and two stolen bases and first basemen Blair Dameron drove in two RBI to help lead his team past Lincoln Memorial. West Chester improved their record to 2-1.
After coming off one of the most successful seasons in West Chester baseball history, Greg Mamula and his team will be trying to get back to the playoffs in 2009. In his first two seasons Mamula has a 78-33 record with a .703 winning percentage.
In each of the last two seasons he has led the Rams to the NCAA Division II tournament where they advanced to the regional championship game. Regarding the upcoming season Mamula said, “We have a talented and experienced team that enjoys competing. We are excited about this season and looking forward to achieving great things.”
Now in his 3rd year as head coach, Mamula and his team will be aiming to build on last year’s season.
One of the team’s captains, Matt Cotellesse, is also looking to build on last year’s success. In 2008, West Chester’s outfielder Matt Cotellesse was rewarded for his play by being named to the first team All-ECAC baseball team. Cotellesse was the only player in the PSAC to make the team.
In 2008 he led the Golden Rams in hitting, posting a batting average of .415, runs scored (54) and hits (90). In the 2008 season Cotellesse had 19 doubles, 3 triples, 12 homeruns and 58 RBI. He was also named 2008 All-PSAC Eastern Division player of the year. In 190 at-bats Cotellesse only struck out 10 times, ranking him 25th in the nation for hardest to strike out.
Steven Fisher is a second-year student majoring in communications with a minor in Journalism. He can be reached at SF674180@wcupa.edu