Baseball Rams seeking two championships: CIAA, World Series
Published: Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, May 1, 2012 16:05
The 2012 Rams baseball team is on pace to have a better conference and overall record than last year’s CIAA championship team. Their goal: Win the CIAA championship and make a World Series championship run.
The team started the season struggling but later got into a groove to make another CIAA championship run.
The Rams are 24-16 (11-2 CIAA) and are on a four-game winning streak to start the month of April.
“We have been consistent coming down the home stretch of the season and we have to keep getting better,” said Kentaus “KC” Carter, assistant baseball coach.
The Rams lost their first four games but have improved their play to be second in the conference behind Virginia State.
“We struggled as a team early because we had not gelled yet with the new players, but we are a family now since we have been doing things together on and off the field,” said Dominique Fitzgerald, junior center fielder from Danville, Va.
The Rams lost two conference games against Chowan and Virginia State.
Both were both the second games of double headers.
“We had a lack of hitting for those two games and lacked the big hits in important moments of the game,” said Sheldon Johnson, a senior pitcher from Northwoodbury, N.J.
The Rams late surge of success is credited to the hitting; they are leading the conference in more than five categories including hits, runs and batting averages.
Three Rams are in the top five for highest batting average in the conference: German Reyes, outfielder/shortstop, and Paco Martin, middle infielder.
Leading the conference is Aaron Jones, first baseman.
“A major improvement from last year’s team to this year’s team is that we are a lot better hitting team at the plate,” Carter said.
The Rams have nine more games in their regular season schedule before CIAA tournament play begins.
With six more conference games left, the Rams are looking to improve their positioning to the top of the league.
“We can definitely win the CIAA. We just cannot play down to the level of our opponents in the conference,” Johnson said.
According to the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Division II regional rankings, the Rams are No. 8 in the Atlantic region.
“I think we should be in the Top 5 in the region,”Johnson said.
“I don’t know if it is just because we are a second-year program that we are seeded so low in the region.”
A big game on the Rams schedule is the meeting against the Francis Marion Patriots of the Peach Belt Conference.
The Patriots have a 24-11 overall record and are ranked No. 14 in the national poll according to the ncaa.com website.
“It is a big game for us against Francis Marion because they took one from us last year so we are looking for some payback,” Fitzgerald said.
The Rams came up short losing 13-0 to the Patriots.
The Patriots did not give up a hit.
“Francis Marion plays in one of the best conferences in the area [Peach Belt] so a win would be a step in the right direction for our team,” Johnson said.
The Rams 2011 season ending with a record of 30-25 (19-7 CIAA).
“This year’s team is just better overall,”
“We have a pretty good outfield and we have depth at all positions.”
“Right now we are looking like a World Series contender that can win some games in our region,” Johnson said.