After a College World Series appearance last year, the Golden Rams had three pressing needs: catcher, shortstop and coach. They found coach Greg Mamula and he found the rest. First year head coach Greg Mamula is grateful for the opportunity.
“It’s rare in this business of coaching to take over a program when they’re a winner. I’m excited to be here.”
After last season’s 39-20 record and a College World Series appearance, the Golden Rams looked primed for another run this year with eight all-league performers and four starting pitchers returning.
With three starting pitchers returning who won nine games last season, West Chester looks primed to be a favorite out of the PSAC East.
“We’re experienced, we’re talented, we’re proven on the mound. Those are all things you want to be saying,” Mamula added. “I think we’re going to have one of the top staffs.”
Last season, Frank Gailey, Dave Slusser and Chris Prowl each won nine games and look to continue career success.
Offensively the team looks as potent as ever. Last year the team hit .311 and had no problem generating runs. Although they lost shortstop Jeff Yeager and catcher Brett Wallace in the offseason. West Chester replaced both players with excellent Division I talent.
Nick Spisak will replace Yeager at short, teaming with Kyle Bechter up the middle. Spisak transferred from the University of Indiana. Bechter hit a solid .331 last year and played error free defense.
Behind the plate is West Chester’s biggest concern. Brett Wallace caught 54 of 59 games last year. Three receivers are competing for playing time.
“[Catching] is a position that requires a lot of experience,” Mamula said. “Our guys are inexperienced. Fortunate thing is we have some talent.”
Returning to play first base will be Mark Gilliford who is just three home runs shy of the school record and hopes to match last years production. During last years run, Gilliford’s 12 shattered the single season mark.
Left-handed hitting sophomore Blair Dameron will man third base this year. As the hot corner last year, Dameron hit .358 on his way being named an All-PSAC player as a freshman.
The outfield is athletic, fast and talented. Mark Catellese will return to man right field. As a leadoff hitter, Catellese hit .375 but will shift to the number three spot in the lineup which shows the versatility of the lineup.
Kevin McGrath, Drew Pare and Charlie Kelly will compete for the other two positions with the other player likely to fill the designated hitter role.
“I like us one through nine,” Mamula continued “We have guys capable [everywhere]. They’re talented.”
West Chester’s main competition will likely come from Kutztown who have started their 2007 season 8-0 and ranked in the top ten in Division II baseball.
West Chester is yet to play because of unplayable field conditions.
“They are going to be battles of two teams that are talented and proven,” Coach Mamula enforced. “We just can’t wait to get on a field and play.”
Look for more coverage of WCU baseball in upcoming issues of The Quad.