Opening day for the Golden Rams is just around the corner. Coming off a 31-17 season where the Rams disappointingly fell short of their dreams of an NCAA World Series repeat. The baseball team has high hopes as well as the motivation for yet another impressive season.
The Rams claimed the top seed in the NCAA Regional last season, but weren’t able to capitalize on the opportunity. They fell short in the opening round to Mercyhurst University 3-2. With their backs up against the wall, the Rams again fell in a crushing manner, losing 7-6 to Millersville University. The feeling of losing not only one, but two NCAA Regional games by a single run has left the Rams hungry to avenge last season.
The team returns a strong core for this season, while adding high quality freshman and transfers. Thanks to the roster makeup, returning first baseman and captain Jared Melone (North Wales, PA/ North Penn) said, “We definitely have the potential to be in the World Series but it’s going to take a lot of work and continuous improvement,” when asked about a goal for this upcoming season. Since the returning four captains were all around for the NCAA World Series victory, it’s safe to say that this team knows what it takes to accomplish their goals.
Amongst the returning captains are senior outfielders, Joey Coyle (Wilmington, DL/ Salesianum) and Drew Jarmuz (Kennett Square, PA/ Unionville) and senior pitcher Michael Deitz (Avon Grove, PA/ Avon Grove). Along with Deitz, Jon Fisher (Plymouth Meeting, PA/ Plymouth Whitemarsh), and Zach Rice (Honey Brook, PA/ Twin Valley) head out a strong pitching staff. The Rams hope they can put their experience with their talent and recapture the magic from the 2017 season. In addition to their returning players, West Chester adds six freshman and six transfers to round out their roster. With a lot of additions, it’s easy to wonder how everyone will be integrated with the team, but when asked about expectations Melone said, “Our main focus is being able to handle the adversity that comes along with a full baseball season, but our goal is to make this program better this year and we’ve all bought into that.”
It’s clear the team knows what they’re capable of, it’s just a matter of being able to put it together. The Golden Rams have one goal in mind and that’s bringing another national championship to West Chester. This top goal was epitomized when Melone talked about his motivation. Coming off year where he was a first team All-American and lead all D2 hitters with a .469 batting average, Melone added, “I just want to win. I got a lot of individual awards last year but winning championships is something I’ll remember more than personal stats.”
The Rams enter this season ranked 25th nationally, second in the Atlantic region and second in the PSAC pool. From top to bottom of the roster, the Rams have one thing in mind, and that journey begins this Friday vs Shippensburg University. West Chester will open conference play on March 22, when they take on the Mountaineers of Mansfield University at Serpico Stadium in West Chester.
Dan McCartin is a third-year student majoring in management with a minor in journalism. DM870055@wcupa.edu