Army Baseball Season Officially Begins Friday

Baseball practice officially begins Friday

Baseball practice officially begins Friday

Jan. 23, 2014

WEST POINT, N.Y. - The Army baseball season officially gets underway Friday with the team's first practice.

Army, fresh off winning its seventh Patriot League Championship and earning its sixth NCAA Regional appearance in 2013, has three weeks of official practices before opening the season with a three-game series at William & Mary beginning Feb. 14.

The Black Knights finished 29-23 last season after a heart-breaking 2-1 loss to host Virginia and a 9-5 setback to UNC Wilmington in the postseason.

The NCAA regional appearance came after Army won the league championship with a pair of road series sweeps. Army dispatched Navy, 4-2 and 7-3 in the semifinals and then bested Holy Cross, 9-4 and 5-4, in Worcester, Mass.

Interim Army head coach Matt Reid knows the Black Knights face a tough road in 2014.

"We're excited to get started and excited to get to work," said Reid, Army's former associate head coach who was elevated to interim head coach in September. "We have lofty goals and we need to utilize all of our practice time to improve as individuals and as a team.

"The 2014 schedule is certainly a challenge. Non-conference games against William & Mary, Massachusetts, Campbell and Towson among others and the always-difficult Patriot League schedule will demand our best."

Army will utilize the spacious Foley Athletic Center, its indoor hitting cages and pitching mounds, the field turf of Howze Field and Johnson Stadium for its preparations.

Senior right-handed pitcher Gunnar Carroll and classmate and first basemen Patrick Mescher will serve as team co-captains. Carroll and Mescher are part of a seven-player senior class that includes right-handed pitchers Erik Washburn and Colin Briant, outfielder Jon Crucitti, left-handed pitcher Nick Dignacco and catcher Connor Love.

Army's roster also includes seven juniors: infielders Harold Earls and Alex Jensen, outfielders Daniel Cortes and Mark McCants and right-handed pitchers Alex Robinett, Brian Hapeman and Julian Larimer.

There are fourteen sophomores on the squad: infielders Garrison Franklin, Justin Reece, Grant Van Orden, Ryan Levenhagen and Brock Davidson, catchers Ben Smith and Davis Marlar, outfielder Jacob Page, right-handed pitchers Jack Verrill, Justin French, John Malcolm and Jonathan Thiess and left-handed pitchers Patrick Gardner and Blake Burrus.

The seven-member freshman class features infielders Kris Lindner and David Monge, right-handed pitchers Johnny Griffith and Daniel Caniano, left-handed pitcher Carson Meadows, catcher Baggio Saldivar and outfielder Alex Dickerson.

In all, Army's 35-member roster has earned 41 varsity letters.

"Our depth is certainly going to be an advantage for us," said Reid. "We are fortunate to have upper classmen who have played a lot of baseball and won a lot of games and a host of young players who are doing everything they can to get into the lineup."

Army will begin its 2014 season in Williamsburg, Va., with a three-game series against the Tribe. William & Mary earned an at-large bid to the 2013 NCAA Regional.

The Black Knights' home opener is scheduled for March 8-9 opposite Wagner. Patriot League competition gets underway March 29-30 against Lehigh, the first of three consecutive home league series.

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