CMS Baseball: New Coach, New Season, New Stags

Back in 2007, Morgan Cummins CM ’07 was dropping bombs for
the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps baseball team. Fast-forward eight years, and the collegiate catcher is now the new CMS baseball head coach. This change comes with the departure of Randy Town and his 27 years with the Stags.

“My goal is
to coach teams that play hard, understand the game and play with confidence, so
those are some things we’ve tried to instill since day one,” Cummins said. “We’re big on competing, so we have lots of
competitions, drills, scrimmages and batting practices where they compete.
Hopefully that should help when we head to the field.”

This year’s lineup appears to be a deep one. Vital to any baseball squad is a strong
pitching staff, and Cummins is very confident in the three players he
has slotted into the starting rotation. 

Getting the start on Fridays will be John
Rizzo CM ’15, a hard-throwing right-hander who stands 6’5″ and will also see
time as designated hitter. Clayton Brock CM ’16, who has good movement
on all his pitches as well as a nasty change-up that makes it difficult for
hitters to get comfortable at the plate, will pitch the first game on Saturday.
Getting the nod for the second half of the Saturday doubleheader will be
MacKenzie Menthen CM ’16, whose repeatable and smooth delivery makes it easy for him to consistently hit his spots.

The Stags boast a balanced lineup at the plate as well. Center fielder Michael Gose CM ’15 will begin the year
batting leadoff, setting the table for middle-of-the-order hitters: catcher Evan
Opperman CM ’17, shortstop Jack Witte CM ’16, Menthen and Rizzo.

“Coach has done a great job of
challenging us and making us compete and want to get better everyday,” Menthen said. “Our greatest strength is our versatility. We’re a balanced group,
and every player will have at least one role that can help the team succeed.”

CMS took
the field for the first time this season Feb. 3 against NAIA
opponent Master’s College in a tough non-conference matchup. Although the Stags succumbed to the Mustangs
10-4, a bright spot for CMS came when left fielder Christian Hoxsie CM ’15 blasted a three-run home run after right fielder Trey Smith CM ’18 and third baseman Robby Weissenfels CM ’18 got on
base.

CMS’s next matchup will be against Willamette University on Feb. 6, kicking off a four-game series spanning the weekend. Throughout the rest of the season the Stags look to incorporate what Cummins views as
some of the hallmarks of the team.

“We have a
lot of guys who can make good contact and square a lot of balls up,” Cummins
said. “To me it’s about throwing strikes, making routine plays and getting hits
with runners in scoring position. If we
can do those things well, we’re going to be successful. The overarching theme
through all that is confidence and having a commitment to each other and
playing hard for each other.” 

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