The 2008 Wesleyan baseball team has an upbeat outlook for the season ahead. Losing five starting fielders and a few pitchers of consequence from the 2007 squad to graduation, Wesleyan will build its squad around a corps of upperclassmen and an outstanding crew of newcomers. Wesleyan expects to have strength on the mound with top starters Lou Gabel '08 (main photo), Kit Tholen '08 and Dusty Mones '09 returning for duty. Jon Sargent '09, Tim Truncellito '08, Michael Cifuentes '10 and Sean Carroll '10 all made at least five appearances a year ago while Andrew Jaycox '10 also should see action. Wesleyan's exceptional class of first-year pitchers includes Eliezer Oberman '11, Joe Giaimo '11, James Hounsell '11, Scott Baier '11 and Jon Sheehan '11. Back to catch this large crew of hurlers are Adam Gomez '10 and Jeff Bizinkauskas '10. Both are looking to step up their game after limited action a year ago. The infield returns second baseman Drew Dominguez '09 (photo insert lower left), the only member of the team to play and start all 35 games in 2007, and shortstop Brice Kelly '10. Both hit over .300 last season. Returnees Dan Poniatowski '08, Graham Douds '08 and Nick Gonsalves '10 have starting experience while freshmen Julian Sonnenfeld '11, Derek Dettorre '11, Kevin Volpe '11 and Ryan Coffey '11 along with Giaimo and Sheehan will push the vets. Chris Arvanites '09 and Garrett Lamborn '09 are back as possible outfield starters but other veterans like Chris Helsel '09, and Gabel will challenge for playing time. Newcomers Justin Freres '11, Dan Conroy '11, Marek Loder '11, Giaimo and Hounsell won't make it easy for the returnees to rest on their laurels. Chris Simpson '08, who belted five home runs in 2006, is the odds-on favorite to be the designated hitter. The team will inaugurate the campaign with a West Coast swing starting with three games at Menlo College before moving southward toward the Los Angeles area. The opener at Menlo is Sat., March 8. In total, the Cardinals have 14 games slated for California, 11 vs. local talent, two against Franklin & Marshall and one with Rutgers-Camden. The team will begin its New England schedule at Coast Guard Thurs., March 27.