Coach Mike LaRosa’s first season here at West Chester was a great success; the former Golden Ram second baseman led the team to a 20–10 conference record in his first year. While the Golden Rams’ season fell short in a disappointing loss to Bloomsburg in the PSAC Quarterfinals, an additional year under LaRosa’s belt and the return of many key players will put Golden Rams baseball in a great position to compete in the 2022 season this spring.
The Golden Rams will be fielding 17 returning players, several of which were starters from last year’s team. Notably on offense, senior first baseman, Mike Ferrara, senior right fielder, Luke Cantwell, and 5th year shortstop, Justin Horn, will be fueling the bats yet again in 2022.
Ferrara, who has been named a pre-season Third Team All-American, led West Chester in OPS, HRs and RBIs last year, and should be expected to continue putting runs on the board for the Golden Rams.
Cantwell and Horn were also steady contributors at the plate in 2021 and were named to the All-Atlantic Region Pre-season squad in addition to Ferrara. Graduate students Zack Wright and Braeden Fausnaught were also honorable mentions.
The left-handed Braeden Fausnaught was the staple arm in the starting rotation last year, leading the starters in appearances, innings pitched and ERA. In the loss to Bloomsburg last year Fausnaught went 5.1 innings and allowed only a run on four hits. The Golden Rams will again count on him as the ace of this West Chester rotation, in addition to the up-and-coming sophomores, Andrew Cantwell and Joe Sperone.
West Chester has also looked well in the eyes of the public. In the months leading up to the season, collegiate baseball writers have ranked West Chester sixth in the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) poll. PSAC opponents Seton Hill (1st), Millersville (2nd) and Mercyhurst (3rd) all were ranked above West Chester.
In the pre-season PSAC coaches poll West Chester took 2nd place in the Eastern Division, again trailing Millersville. This will surely serve as additional motivation for the Golden Rams during their 3-game series against the Marauders in late April.
The Golden Rams will open the 2022 season with a double-header against the College of Saint Rose in Dinwiddie, VA on Feb. 19. West Chester is 8–2 against the Golden Knights since 2012, having lost their last matchup in February of 2020.
The West Chester home opener will be a double-header taking place on Saturday, March 12 against the Lockhaven Bald Eagles at 12 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. It will be the second of the 3-game series that opens up conference play for the Golden Rams starting the day before in Lock Haven.
While this looks to be the beginning of quite an exciting season of West Chester University baseball, a lot of the Golden Ram’s season hinges on the final 12 games, all of which are against PSAC East teams. Those 12 games could very well be the determining factors of the Golden Ram’s position in the PSAC East Division chase.
Dylan Edelman is a third-year Mathematics major with a minor in Journalism. DE936681@wcupa.edu