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On paper, the 2013 Hilbert College baseball team is considered a young squad. The Hawks will field 16 first-year players with only 7 upperclassmen who are expected to lead by example. Returning for his second full year, Jim Pernick will find a way to get the most out of each player and challenge for an AMCC play-off spot in May.
Seniors Chris Hoak and Garrett Pauly, and juniors John Babocsi and Joe Pernick will provide leadership as the team’s captains. Babocsi has become a defensive leader by simply working hard and training in the off-season to become a great catcher for the Hawks. He continues to be an offensive threat for the Hawks because he is a good contact hitter at the plate; he finished the year with 87 at bats and 25 hits sending in 26 runs. Hoak, a 2012 AMCC 1st team player at short stop and last year’s leader with a .422 batting average, returns in the hole and is expected to pitch too. This being the first season in four years where Hoak participated in the team’s first day of practice, he is well ahead of the curve as compared to previous seasons. As a fifth year senior at Hilbert and no winter basketball season to train for, Hoak spent the summer and fall semester working on strength training and came into camp in the best baseball shape of his career. A year ago, he led the Hawks with 9 doubles, four triples off 43 hits and was credited with four stolen bases. For all the pro-scout looks he received in 2012, he is focused on helping the team to win this year.
Pauly finished strong last spring and was second with 53.1 innings pitched (behind his teammate and AMCC’s Pitcher of the Year). Pauly carried that pitching confidence into summer ball and has brought it to the field this spring. Outfielder Joe Pernick will now cover the center field position and is expected to be one of the top hitter overall this season for the Hawks after knocking in 15 RBIs with a .347 average in 2012.
Rounding out the veteran pool are Ryan Ilardi, Sean McGrath, and Frank Casey. Ilardi played left field in 2012 but he can also cover second base. He brings good speed (16 runs scored) and ball contact at the plate and good work ethic. McGrath brings both catching and corners experience in the infield as well as a good bat. He will help Babocsi behind the plate and will seeing some time at the DH slot. Casey worked hard in the off-season which should help him on the mound this year and this spring he is taking some reps in the outfield to help booster the Hawks’ defense when needed.
Senior Ryan Tofil, a three-sport athlete at Hilbert, joins the team this year. He swings the bat hard and should bolster the team’s offense.
Freshman looking break into the starting lineup are Paul WuJec, PJ Mistretta , Cody Ashford, Mark Anderson, Tyler Shaw and Tom Irish. All five are very versatile with good speed and will play big roles right away for the Hawks. Tyler Sulski is a big strong kid who will bring some versatility as a catcher.
An impressive piece to this year’s recruiting class is the Canadian imported pitching staff. Tyler Roth (Ottawa), all 6’7” of him,will pitch and play the field. Andrew Cartaginese (Toronto) is a dual-sport athlete like Roth (cross country) and both are great pitching shape. Rounding of the Canadian recruits are the Parachoniak brother Logan and Colby (Saskatchewan). Both show sign of being franchise pitchers; Logan has great movement and Colby brings a nice fastball and pounds the strike zone.
Korey Schwab and Matt Goraj both throw strikes and they work hard day-in and day-out. Goraj has some great off-speed stuff that will make him a nice set-up man. And finalizing this class are lefties Justin Hulbert and Tony Marra. Both look terrific and can be used as starters and for matching-up in late innings.
The coaching staff returns Matt Bauman and Glowacki, Derek Speaker and new comer Jimmy Pernick. The Hawks open their season at the Florida Spring Coast Training tourney March 10 – March 16. They return to Western New York for a full slate of Allegheny Mountain Collegiate games where they will host Greensburg (3/30), Altoona (4/13), Bradford (4/16) and D’Youville (4/24). Hilbert’s non-conference opponents are Houghton, Cazenovia, Fredonia and Keuka.
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