Returning Standouts Set to Lead Sagehens

Fresh off a win in the 2014 alumni game last Saturday, the Pomona-Pitzer
baseball team heads into the 2014 season with a great deal of promise. After a second place finish in the 2013 SCIAC regular season and the conference
tournament, as well as a trip to the NCAA tournament, the Sagehens are ready to make a splash on the national level. With season goals that include an SCIAC Championship and a long run in the NCAA tournament, head coach Frank
Pericolosi is looking for “good pitching, a good bullpen, solid defense, and
some timely hitting” to make it happen. This season’s Sagehens are looking to
extend their streak of at least 25 wins to an eighth season after going 29-16 last

Boasting a roster including Simon Rosenbaum PO ’16,’s
2013 West Region Rookie of the Year, and 2013 All-SCIAC First-Teamer Jake Bruml PO
’15, the Sagehens have a lot of returning firepower on both offense and defense. Rosenbaum only appeared in 23 games
last year before going down with an injury, but had a batting average of .398
with four home runs and posted a 2.03 ERA in eight games. Bruml batted .354 and led the team with 40 RBI last season, while collecting a team-high seven wins on the mound. Offensive power for this season will also come from returners
Travis Bowers PO ’14, E.J. Lopez PZ ’15, and Ryan Madden PZ ’15, who all had
batting averages well over .275 last spring. The Hens also hope that catcher Jackson Badger PZ ’14 will continue his clutch hitting from 2013’s SCIAC playoffs, where he drove in four runs in a comeback win against Occidental College.

For the pitching that is so vital
to their success, the P-P baseball team will rely on returning starters Drew Helgren
PO ’14, Cameron Yen PZ ’16, and Kevin Kannappan PO ’16, as well as reliever Mark Okuma
PZ ’15. The
Sagehens also will be looking to closer Robert Weller PO ’14 to
build on his six saves last spring.

After graduation stole 2013
American Baseball Coaches Association’s Golden Glove winner Erik Munzer away, coach Pericolosi says there will be plenty of opportunity this
spring for younger players to earn some play time.

“We need people to step up,” Pericolosi said. “And we need people to step up who
haven’t stepped up before—new guys, everybody to play their best baseball.”

only five seniors on the roster, coach Pericolosi places importance on “everybody
understanding that part of their job is to do things the right way all of the
time.” With nine freshmen on this year’s team, he is looking for
leadership from all of the returners. 

stealing three bases in the alumni game victory on Saturday, Tanner Nishioka PO
’17 said, “I’m really just excited to be a part of such a solid team, and I
hope that I can learn a lot from the older players with more experience.”

The team’s practices emphasize hard work and playing good baseball day in and day out, and
the players are looking for it to pay off when they play rival Claremont-Mudd-Scripps on the road in their first conference game of the season on Feb. 14, kicking off a three-game weekend series. “It’s
always fun to play CMS,” Rosenbaum said, “and it definitely gets the conference started off on an exciting note.”

The team has been working all
offseason to produce a cohesive unit that can battle among top teams of the tough SCIAC
conference. Coach Pericolosi emphasized the strength of their conference this year.

good and competitive, so we’ll have our hands full every time we step out,” said
the coach, who is entering his 12th season with the Sagehens. “SCIAC is a
really tough conference and every team will give us a run for our money.”

a deep lineup already in place, the team is going to have to rely on solid pitching down the stretch,
which was a theme mentioned by both coaches and players. If both sides live up to expectations, the team looks poised to come through on at least one of their goals: bringing home a SCIAC Championship for their seniors.

“Our seniors haven’t won [SCIAC] yet,” Rosenbaum said, “so you know we want to get them a championship.”

Though the Sagehens open their regular season today, they will have
a little more time to prepare for their strong conference battle. They play a non-conference matchup against Whitmore today, Feb. 7, at 2 p.m. at home on Alumni Field.

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