Optimism abounds for the 2011 Wesleyan baseball squad. The Cardinals have a team with great potential - starters return at seven positions, three weekend pitchers are back, and there is an infusion of a top-notch freshman class. As a result, Wesleyan has its sights set on another NESCAC tournament spot after a 22-14 season in 2010.
A great senior class is led by returning first-team all-NESCAC player Julian Sonnenfeld '11, who hit .418 with eight home runs last year. Sonnenfeld was also named third-team Academic All-America. Jon Sheehan '11 returns at second base after hitting .333 last year, while Joe Giaimo '11 (.376, photo) returns at first base, and the southpaw will be featured on the mound as well. Derek Dettorre '11 has had countless clutch hits in his career, while Ryan Coffey '11, Justin Freres '11 and James Hounsell '11 have also been key winners for the Cardinals.
In the junior class, pitchers Brett Yarusi '12 (all-NESCAC) and Mike Barsotti '12 combined for 12 huge wins in leading off weekend series a year ago. Fellow pitcher Dan Thomsen '12 is primed for an amazing junior season. Kyle Weiss '12 hit .341 and walked 37 times while playing standout centerfield. Alex Meadow '12 hit .400 in the three-hole for the Cardinals last season while playing third base. David Skura '12 and Tom Miceli '12 spent a lot of time behind the dish for Wesleyan, while Noah Feingold '12 has also been instrumental in his first two years.
Sophomore Derek Lukin '13 started on the hill every weekend as a freshman, recording huge wins (including one over Amherst) while going 4-1. Chris Bonti '13 started at shortstop as a freshman and his strong arm and clutch play were invaluable. Glenn Stowell '13 will look to improve the pitching rotation, while Stef Sundseth '13 will vie to start at catcher.
A strong freshman class is heavy on pitching, including righties Jeff Blout '14, Sam Gilberg '14, Chris Law '14, and Michael Migiel-Schwartz '14, and lefties Jimmy Hill '14 and Chase Levi '14. Position players Terence Farina '14, Sam Gruppo '14 and Jake Skinner '14 are also strong prospects.
The Cardinals open the 2011 slate with a 15-day, 16-game road trip to Arizona beginning Sat., March 7, including six contests at the San Diego Padres spring training facility and one at the Cincinnati Reds facility. Back home in late March, Wesleyan begins the local schedule March 24 by hosting Coast Guard.