A new season of Pomona-Pitzer baseball begins on Feb. 2. The Sagehens will host the Lewis & Clark Pioneers in their opener.
Typically a SCIAC powerhouse, P-P finished last season with a record of 20-19, not good enough for a spot in the conference tournament. This year, the Sagehens aim to get back to the top of the standings.
In his 16th season as head coach, Frank Pericolosi looks to augment his program-record 372 career wins. The Sagehens captured four SCIAC championships in his first eight years with the team, but have failed to win one since 2010.
Pericolosi is excited for this year’s team.
“We have a good mix of veterans and young players and some freshmen pitchers who should contribute immediately,” he said.
Although the team lost star Tanner Nishioka PO ’17 to graduation and the MLB Draft, several key players are returning to the team, including Bryce Rogan PO ’18, who was second on the team last year in both hits and home runs. This year, Rogan and a new crop of seniors are ready to lead the team.
“Our role as seniors is mostly just to show the underclassmen the standard we hold ourselves to both on and off the field as a part of the program,” Rogan said.
Ryan Long PO ’21 is one of the freshmen pitchers Pericolosi is looking forward to seeing in action this year. Long said he and the other freshmen have felt welcomed by the older players.
“The culture of the team is great because the seniors and the other leaders on the team make everyone want to work hard, while still keeping it a loose and fun atmosphere,” Long said.
Players have had plenty of time to get to know each other due to their demanding practice schedule. The team practices eight times a week early in the season, yet the real work began months earlier.
“For us, the season unofficially started in the fall so we’ve been working together as a team the entire year. This really helps us come together as a unit before official practice even starts,” Rogan said.
This much practice is necessary, and Pericolosi knows his team must play well to compete in the conference. “We’re hoping to pitch better and continue to play good defense. SCIAC should be a very competitive conference once again this year so each weekend will be great challenge.”
Cal Lutheran is certainly the favorite to win the conference this year — the Kingsmen won the national championship last year and enter the season as the No. 2 team in the country. If the Sagehens hope to compete for a conference championship, the road will likely lead through the Kingsmen’s home field in Thousand Oaks.
Pericolosi is approaching this season with a familiar mindset, because the team’s goals “tend to be the same each each year: to have a winning season and compete for the SCIAC regular season and conference championship, while getting better every day as a team.”