|Walt Roman, a first year Mechanical Engineering Technology hits off a tee during practice on Feb. 24.
With this past Rochester winter miserable as any, the idea of sitting out in the soothing springtime sun is a welcome one. This goes especially for the members of RIT men’s baseball team, who have been holed up in the George H. Clark Gymnasium for their preseason workouts. “It’s tough to play baseball inside. You’re cooped up,” says team captain and pitcher Charles “Chuck” Yarrington, a fourth year Environmental Science major. “One of the nice things about baseball is being outside on nice days. There’s only so much you can do in a gym,” says Yarrington.
Yarrington was appointed captain over the summer. His feelings about playing inside are echoed by co-captain, Justin Smith, fourth year Biomedical Science major. “It’s dark up there so it’s tough to see. It’s not actually like what you see playing outside, but it’s the best we have,” says Smith.
The team’s preseason workouts began back in fall with a four week long “mini season” and early morning workouts starting immediately after the winter break. Yarrington says the difference between preseason and in-season workouts is the way they’re structured around accounting for the 40 games that the team plays in a season. In addition to these practices, the team plays weekend double headers, as well as one or two games during the week.
“Preseason practices are tough. We do a lot of running and a lot of conditioning, but then once we get into the season, it becomes more about just working on what you have to work on. You want to stay in shape, but not kill yourself.” But physical fitness is only one part of a winning team. Spirit is crucial, and it’s difficult not to notice that many of the players sport mohawks and dyed beards. “It looks ridiculous, but that’s the point. The team bonding,” Smith says.
With the season finally here, it’s time for the team to put its hard work to good use. They kicked off the season in style by heading to Orlando, Flo., for the Russmatt Central Florida Invitational Feb. 30. Both Yarrington and Smith agree that their favorite parts of the season are taking trips like this and playing against rival teams like St. John Fisher and the University of Rochester. “We don’t like to play them, but we have some good games against them. I guess that’s what makes it fun for us,” Smith says about St. John Fisher.
The team feels strongly that they can improve on last season’s 20-20 record. “The freshman class here is exciting. They’re going to be ready to jump right into starting spots and be huge contributors.”