The infusion of solid young talent and energy, combined with a senior class on a mission, part of a group of 17 returning lettermen, foretells great things for the Cardinals this spring. Wesleyan will once again challenge itself on the spring trip in California and Arizona, but also with a very strong schedule in New England. With one of the best strength of schedules in New England, the squad will be tested and challenged while looking to bring home a NESCAC title.
Pitchers -- On the mound, Michael Cifuentes '10 (photo upper right) has pitched in numerous big games, while Brett Yarusi '12 (fifth in NESCAC in ERA) and Mike Barsotti '12 (beat Trinity in 2009) are looked to for breakout years. James Hounsell '11 and Dan Thomsen '12 are also ready to be key elements on the pitching staff. The freshman class will also be looked to for some big innings with Zach Binswanger '13, Chris Bonti '13, Kyle Chapman '13, Derek Lukin '13 and Glenn Stowell '13 joining the squad.
Hitting -- Offensively, the Cardinals return some heavy hitters, including a host of players with big-game experience, including quad-captains Brice Kelly '10 (.305 average in '09, 19 extra-base hits, photo lower right) and Nick Gonsalves '10 (.295 average, photo upper left), Derek Dettorre '11 (.348 average), Julian Sonnenfeld '11 (.364 average with team-best 21 extra-base hits) and Joe Giaimo '11, and Alex Meadow '12 (.316 average) and Brandyn Cooper '12 (.269 average).
Catchers -- Quad-captain Jeff Bizinkauskas '10 (photo lower left) hit .311 while doing a nice job behind the plate last year, and is joined by standout talents in Tom Miceli '12 and David Skura '12.
Infielders -- Defensively, every player returns except at shortstop and left field, lending a stability to the best defense in the NESCAC in 2009 (.953 fielding percentage). Sonnenfeld was named second-team All-NESCAC, while Meadow started every game at first base as a freshman. Sheehan and Dettorre were standout performers in the middle of the infield last year as well. Joining them will be newcomer pitcher/infielder Bonti.
Outfielders -- In the outfield, Kelly and Gonsalves have had standout careers, while Cooper and Kyle Weiss '12, and Justin Freres '11, Giaimo, and Ryan Coffey '11 have a valuable store of experience.
During a two-week excursion out west the Cardinals will play Pitt-Bradford, Swarthmore and Presentation in the Desert Classic in Arizona, then take on local talents in California including La Sierra, Claremont, Pomona and Redlands. The team's opening game in New England will be at Coast Guard Thurs., March 25.