As the CCBC-Catonsville Cardinals pass the halfway point in their season, the team looks towards building on their 23-11-1 start and a 10-2 mark at the Maryland JuCo Division II ranks. The Cards have already surpassed last year’s mark of 21-25 with three more weeks left in their season.
The Cardinals’ hard work started early in the offseason. “I like the attitude of this team a lot better than what we had last year,” Coach Dan Blue said, comparing this season to last. “They had been working hard in the weight room; they had been having a solid fall.”
The team took this attitude down to Florida where they started its season on a positive note as they left Florida 3-3-1 against some very tough opponents. Coach Blue, who has been head coach since 2004, has never won 4 games in Florida.
This tight-knit bunch believes that they can make a long run in the postseason in 2016 as every practice ends with the team chant “OK!” for Oklahoma. The NJCAA Division II College World Series will take place in Enid, OK in late May.
Shortstop/Pitcher Craig Lopez said, “we got a team with great chemistry so if we can get hot at the right time, there’s no telling how far we can take this.”
The Cardinals have won 3 straight games and have won 10 of their last 13 games.
“We just have to stick together and good things can happen,” said pitcher John Klein. “We have a young team so it’s important for the older guys to take leadership roles.”
The team consists of only 10 sophomores and 13 freshman, many of which play key roles on the team. Freshmen Christian Munoz, Eddie Nottingham, and Matt Thomas have all made large contributions to the team in the infield. Dalton Swanger, Manny Jiménez, and Bud Weismore have also taken on a lot of starting time this season. Freshman pitchers Mike Peleaz, Ryan Yesner, and Jordan Sanders have faced some key opponents this season.
Leading this talented group of freshman is a determined, talented group of sophomores. Every sophomore seems to play with a chip on their shoulder because of the final record last season and it is evident in the continuous hustle of sophomores Kyle Canavan and Christian Laidley in the outfield and Denzel Johnson at 2nd base.
The pitching staff is littered with sophomore starters Courtney Mack, Nick Collins, and John Klein. Sophomore Brandon O’Malley is also a starting pitcher as well as a utility fielder. Craig Lopez is the sophomore closer who also plays shortstop, but he currently is out with a broken finger and has been used for just pitching.
This Cardinals team is filled with strong arms on the mound and a lot of bats that can create havoc for other teams. With spirits riding high, they look to continue their run into the playoffs where they must get by Maryland’s perennial powerhouse Frederick to keep their hopes for Oklahoma alive.
Come out to the field and check out your 2016 baseball Cardinals for the outstanding price of free! The next home game is a region doubleheader against Cecil College on Thursday at 2PM.
Articles reflect the views of the author and or those quoted and do not necessarily represent the views of CCBC or the CCBC Connection.