CSM base­ball, soft­ball teams off and run­ning

Hawks look­ing to re­gain win­ning ways with Michael at helm

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By TED BLACK tblack@somd­news.com

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

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