Dome sweet Dome: Scots play at Twins' home

By Daniel Kerwin

Spring may seem a far cry away, but that’s why there are domes in Minnesota. The baseball team is taking advantage of that fact. Mac’s baseball season got underway Wednesday with a doubleheader against Jamestown (N.D.) in the Metrodome, where it will be playing its games until the end of March.”It’s cool playing in a major league ball park,” Co-captain Cody Ching ’08 said. “It may be one of the worst major league ballparks, but it’s still a major league ballpark.”

Macalester may be sharing a playing space with the Minnesota Twins, but that’s not all the two teams have in common. Just like the Twins, Macalester will be relying heavily on young, inexperienced players this season.

“We had a veteran team last year with eight seniors, along with some freshman in key spots,” Head Coach Matt Parrington said. “Along the line of intangibles, we need to replace an awful lot of personality off last year’s team.”

The team lost its top left-handed pitcher, its closer and its best power hitter all in the same person with the graduation of Adam Wedwick ’07. It also lost four other seniors who were regulars in the lineup. However, after two consecutive years of solid recruiting classes, the team has enough talent to fill the vacated positions.

Several sophomores are expected to play key roles. James Murrey ’10 will look to expand on a strong rookie season in which he received all-conference honors as a starting pitcher. Nate Wilson-Traisman ’10, who was one of the team’s most productive hitters last season, will continue to anchor the infield at shortstop.

One thing that Co-captain John Simkins ’08 praises about this year’s team is its pitching depth. Simkins is the most experienced pitcher on the team, and should head the rotation along with Murrey. Eric Robinson ’10 is looking to rebound after an injury plagued season last year, and newcomers Alex Ingram ’11 and Elliott Yodh ’11 are also trying to make an impact as starting pitchers.

Besides working out all the nuances of the roster, the team has specific areas in which it will be focusing this season.

“Offensively, we need to be more consistent at the plate in order to score more runs, as well as cut down on strikeouts,” Parrington said. “Defensively, we need to field a higher percentage. Pitching needs to be able to command the strike zone and change speeds. It’s not a magic formula, we just need to get better in order to increase the win total.”

After playing the first four of five doubleheaders scheduled in the Metrodome, the team will head to Arizona for spring break for the third consecutive season.

“It’s going to be a blast going down there for a week, soaking up the sun and coming back with farmer’s tans,” Simkins said.

Last year that’s not all they came back with. While in Arizona, the team took on the College of New Jersey, a team that was ranked number four in the nation, and came away with an 8-2 victory.

“In baseball, any day anyone can win, that’s why it’s so amazing,” Simkins said. “If this was football and you were playing the number four team, you wouldn’t win.”

The team is looking to improve on its 14-23 overall record and 5-15 MIAC record from last year. The MIAC is a perennially strong conference, but as Mac showed against the College of New Jersey, anything can happen in baseball.

“We need to focus our attention on improving prior to concerning ourselves with any of our opponents,” Parrington said. “If we improve our game, wins will take care of themselves over a course of time. I’m excited about the season and look for steady improvement in our performance.”

“If we play like we should play and come out with energy, I think we have a chance to be as good as anybody else,” Simkins said.