Mac baseball calls Metrodome home for first games

By Burcu Sahin

After a tough season last year with unexpected losses in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) tournament, there is an optimistic outlook in the baseball team with a mix of talented veterans and new players rounding out the roster this year.
With 15 freshmen on the team, Chris Papalia ‘07 is hopeful for the year. “We are a veteran experience team with seven seniors in the team, but I strongly believe that our freshman class will help us a lot,” he said.
Head Coach Matt Parrington, also wants to watch the freshmen on the field.

Though he mentioned that the team’s profile can change any time, he said looks to pitchers Ted Kimble’07 and John Simkins’07 and first years James Murrey’10 and Eric Robinson’10 to anchor the pitching staff.

“Our top three relievers will be Jake Seltzer ’08, Adam Wedwick ’07 and Brad Johnson ’09,” he said. “It seems the seniors Papalia and Wedwick will once again anchor the middle infield and will be the key players of this season within the returning guys Kimble and Seltzer.”

After opening the season at the Metrodome, the team will travel to Phoenix, Arizona, for its annual seven-day spring trip (Mar. 10-16). Having experience in Arizona last year, Papalia and Johnson said they are very eager this time and want to return to Macalester with good results.
“Spring trips are a great experience and very essential for the team unity,” Johnson said.

Parrington agreed with Johnson and talked about the team’s current goals. “We will have seven tough games in six days in Arizona. First of all, we have to remain injury free… We have four practice weeks before the Arizona trip. We practice five days a week. So we will definitely be improved for Arizona.” Parrington said.
Parrington said he thinks that the team will be in better shape after the two Metrodome games. “We will look at the Metrodome games, which will absolutely get our players comfortable with playing, and evaluate the pitching rotation for our spring trip,” he said.

Papalia has hopes for the conference tournament, but says support will be needed. “We expect Macalester students to support us. Especially the four games at the Metrodome will be great. We would be glad to see them at our games. Support always encourages us a lot and will definitely get us ready and more ambitious for the MIAC.”

After a disappointing end last year, Johnson said he is optimistic for the upcoming season. “In my first year in the team, we unfortunately could not make the playoffs,” he said. “But with the help of our coaches’ great assistance and the key contributions from the first year class, we aim to make the conference tournament this year. As long as we work hard and do our best, nothing can hinder us from making the playoffs this year.”

Robinson said he looks forward to the season.

“This season will be enjoyable, but serious and tough at the same time. I already feel the serious atmosphere in the team,” he said. “Our coaches are very experienced and they are training us very well clarifying our responsibilities in the team… In spite of our tough schedule, I strongly believe that we will win a lot this season.”

Going into the season, Parrington knows that his team has potential. “I have told my players that they have to play up to their level of ability fulfilling their potential. In that case, we will qualify for a slot in the MIAC tournament for sure.”