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Baseball Team Primed for Rebound in 2013
February 11, 2013
|First baseman Matt Weiss led the Archers with seven triples in 2012.|
For Archers baseball coach Tony Dattoli, the 2012 season was an aberration, and a severe one, at that.
For most coaches, a 31-30 record would not elicit euphoria, but for the Archers’ skipper, last season’s dip toward mediocrity was abjectly disappointing.
“Last year was as dismal a year on offense that we’ve had since we’ve been here,” Dattoli said. “We just had guys who didn’t make a lot of adjustments.”
But for as frustrating as last year may have been, the Archers’ prospects look immeasurably more promising for 2013. The Archers’ weakness from a year ago—offense—may very well prove to be the team’s greatest strength this year. The team returns first baseman Matt Weiss, who batted .341 and led the Archers with seven triples. Also returning is outfielder/designated hitter Mike Ehrhard, who won the team triple crown with a .369 average, eight home runs and 47 RBI. He also scored 44 runs, tops on the team. Ehrhard will attend Illinois State University at the conclusion of this year.
The Archers will also have sophomore Larry Schimsa back in the fold for this spring. Schimsa, after playing with Dattoli at Meramec in 2011, did not play during the 2012 season. An all-state performer and Four Rivers Conference player of the year while at Pacific High School, Schimsa will likely see time in the middle of the order with Ehrhard and Weiss this spring.
“That obviously gives us a vote of confidence going into this year,” Dattoli said of the offensive production returning this spring. “The middle of our lineup poses a great challenge for our opponents.”
Among freshmen, the Dattoli looks for impacts to be made by outfielders Brandon Fowler and Austin Evans, among others.
Anchoring the pitching staff this year will be sophomore transfer David Mullins (DeSmet). Mullins, a 5-11 left hander, transferred from Coastal Carolina University.
Mullins will be one of many newcomers to the Archers’ pitching staff in 2013, but Dattoli is confident the changes will be a net gain for the Archers this spring.
“We’re young and we’re going to go through growing pains as we did last year, but talent-wise, we’re right on par,” Dattoli said.
Dattoli will waste no time in putting his expectations for this year’s team to the test. STLCC will open the 2013 slate with six games in Millington, Tenn., including their season opener Friday against nationally-ranked Northeastern Oklahoma A&M.
Home Sweet Home in 2013
Last spring was marked with numerous frustrations for Dattoli, not the least of which was the team’s persistent search for a home-field advantage. STLCC patched together a home schedule using three different locations, and the Archers never did gain a clear foothold when at home.
This year, the Archers will play their entire home slate at Heine Meine Field in Lemay. While their home field will still be off-site from any of the STLCC campuses, a consistent location is a welcome change for Dattoli and company.
“Any time, regardless of whether it’s on or off campus, the consistency and continuity can only be a positive,” Dattoli said. “It’s tough being a gypsy and running around to different places. But the last time I checked, number one is reaching Grand Junction (for the national tournament). We don’t play our home games at Grand Junction anyway, so it’s important for us to just play the game.”