CSM baseball, softball teams off and running
Hawks looking to regain winning ways with Michael at helm
While the College of Southern Maryland softball team headed into the spring season with high hopes for a Region XX title, the CSM baseball team is simply hoping to regain its winning ways after a series of rough campaigns.
CSM (2-5, 0-3 Maryland Junior College Athletic Conference) finished the 2016 slate with a 7-30 mark, but first-year head coach Aaron Michael is optimistic the Hawks will enjoy a better campaign this spring. CSM opened the season with a pair of lopsided victories over Central Penn (Pa.), then lost two tight games at Bryant & Stratton College (Va.) before being trounced in a twinbill sweep at Cecil and falling to Chesapeake on Tuesday.
Although Michael is in his rookie season at the helm as the Hawks baseball coach, he is hardly new to the program. Michael spent the previous nine seasons as an assistant coach and previously played two seasons at CSM. During his days as an assistant coach, Michael’s role varied and he was able to run the gamut among positions and brings that wealth of knowledge with him.
“I really had a number of jobs here as an assistant, so I was able to get a good feel for everything on the field,” Michael said. “I think we have a good group of freshmen here. We have several returning players who are going to be key for us. My job here now is to see how many games this guys can win this season.”
CSM opened the season Feb. 25 with an 11-0 Game 1 victory over Central Penn in the opener behind six shutout innings from Jaime Gomez, who fanned
eight batters and yielded only two hits and one walk.
The Hawks collected 14 hits in the opener, two each from Zachary Wehausen (a Lackey High School graduate from Welcome), Derek Taitano (a Leonardtown High School graduate from Hollywood), Dale Arbaugh III (a McDonough High School graduate from Waldorf), Jarett Faunce, Trevor Burch (a St. Mary’s Ryken High School graduate from Charlotte Hall) and Gavin Moore (a North Point High School from JB Andrews). Wehausen was awarded a MDJUCO gold glove last spring.
“I mainly rely on my two-seam fastball and my curveball,” said Gomez, who often seeks to em- ulate Washington Nationals ace Max Scherzer, the reigning Na- tional League Cy Young winner who had previously garnered the same honor with the Detroit Tigers. “We have a lot of freshmen players on the team, but I think our goals are to go out and compete and succeed.”
CSM promptly completed the doubleheader sweep of Central Penn by taking Game 2, 14-2, as Kyle Hardy (a La Plata High School graduate from La Plata) allowed two runs on five hits and one walk while fanning two batters in six innings.
Second baseman C.J. Hill, a Chopticon High School graduate from Leonardtown who opted not to play last season as a freshman at CSM, went 3 for 4 with five runs batted in and two scored. Arbaugh and Faunce each had two hits that game as well.
“I mainly sat out last year to focus on a number of things, like working,” Hill said. “But I’m glad to be back playing this sea- son. Until this year I had always been a catcher, but this year I’ll be playing second base and shortstop. I’m optimistic that we can do well this season.”
CSM then dropped a pair of tight games at Bryant & Stratton on Feb. 26. In the opener, the Hawks scored nine runs in the top of the first, two in the third, another in the fourth and two more in the fifth. But that ample production was matched and eventually topped by Bryant & Stratton, which responded with seven runs in the bottom of the first, one in the third, four in the sixth and then three in the bottom of the seventh to erase a 14-12 deficit.
“That first doubleheader at Penn Central we did a lot of good things,” Michael said. “We got good pitching and we played good defense. Then at Bryant & Stratton, we proba- bly let both of those games get away. They were both close, but we probably should have won them both. The last outing at Cecil just was not one of our better days.”
Game 2 against Bryant & Stratton was hardly a mirror image of the opener as the Hawks fell, 6-4.
CSM scored two runs in the first and another in the second and one more in the sixth, but Bryant & Stratton scored once in the second, once more in the third and added four more runs in the fifth. Wehausen went 4 for 5, scored three runs and drove in two in the opener, while Hill went 3 for 5 with 4 RBIs and Moore went 3 for 4 and scored twice.
CSM is at Harford on Saturday and then returns home to face Hagerstown on Tuesday.
In recent years, the Hawks have played most of their home games at Regency Furniture Stadium in Waldorf, home of the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs. But this spring, the Hawks will have limited engagements at Regency, March 16 against Sullivan County (N.J.) and April 2 versus Rowan College (N.J.)
The College of Southern Maryland baseball team is looking for a turnaround season in 2017 after going 7-30 in 2016. PHOTO COURTESY OF COLLEGE OF SOUTHERN MARYLAND