By: Jenn McCulloch
The University of Mary Washington’s men’s baseball team will return to the diamond for a doubleheader on Saturday, Feb. 19. Coming off an 11-17 record in the 2021 season, the team is anxious to turn things around.
“I think a big goal for us is to have a winning record,” said Kelly Swiney, the team’s head coach since 2019. “We want to be more competitive and all the way around in our league in the region and all of our games.”
The last notable award the baseball team received was in 2017 when they were Capital Athletic Conference (CAC) finalists, and Swiney is aiming to prepare his players as best as he can.
“We definitely try to do things to mix it up with them, get them prepared for games, but at the same time, there are some routine things that we do on a daily basis or weekly basis and practice … just trying to get everybody to know their roles and understand where they can help the team and help us win a bunch of games this year,” he said. “I think we can do some really, really good things and then put ourselves in a really good spot and move forward with the future of the program.”
With only two seniors, last year’s team was young, making the bulk of this year’s team returning players with three seniors, nine juniors, eighteen sophomores and seven freshmen.
“We were really young last year,” said Swiney. “We had a couple of seniors, David Lambertson and Garrett Lyons, who played important roles for all-conference, but after that, the bulk of our team was really freshman and sophomores. So, [we’re] really excited to get a bunch of guys back. We had two first team all-conference freshmen last year and [we’re] excited to see them grow, and really the whole team grow, so I just think we have more depth.”
Senior captain Chris Rubano, an economics major, aims for an improvement from last year.
“So far, the goal for this year is to obviously win the conference championship, but on a lesser note, it’s to better ourselves on what we did last year,” said Rubano. “It’s always building a cornerstone for years going forward.”
Freshman baseball player and business major Burke Steifman has high hopes for his rookie season. He believes the Eagles can win the conference and then, once that occurs, the team can aim for something more like the national championships.
Jonathan Sedmak, a junior business major, is one of the captains of the team. “There’s a very competitive aspect right now going on, so they want to be good this year,” he said.
Rubano said his team has a stronger bond than it did over the last few years.
“Obviously, it just feels like it’s more of a family team brothership rather than it’s just like individual bonds,” he said. “I’m very happy with the way the team is connected on that aspect.”
The Eagles will start their first home game on Feb. 19 with a doubleheader at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.