While most students will be spending their spring break relaxing, it will be business as usual for the Goshen baseball team. The Maple Leafs’ season begins during spring break and they will see 10 games across Tennessee, Georgia and Florida.12 members of the roster are new to the team, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be called upon to perform. When asked about the new additions, Head Coach Alex Childers said, “Half of our team is new this year. We have 2 transfers and 10 first-years on this year’s squad. We are expecting the new guys to have a big impact for us this year. Cody McCoy [first-year], Brad Stoltzfus [first-year] and Mikey Namisnak [sophomore] are three guys that will play significant innings for us in the Infield. Ryan Hartig [first-year] and Kyle Houts [first-year] will each see some time in the outfield and both have very good speed. Spencer Buttermore [first-year] will add depth behind the plate. Travis Grimm [first-year], Tyler Waslawski [first-year], Blake Collins [sophomore], Brandon Vires [first-year] and Billy Swisher [first-year] will step in and have an immediate impact on the pitching staff and will need to learn and mature quickly. Noah Shail [first-year] another 1st year from New Prairie High School will be a super utility player and is expected to see time in the infield, outfield and on the mound.”
The Maple Leafs also have plenty of experience with 12 returning players from last year’s squad. Seniors Zach Thompson and Bryan Palmer, and sophomores Michael Walker, Brad Lantz, Seth Lapp and Eli Grimes are all returning to the pitching staff. Junior Jesse Quintanilla and sophomore Urbano Hernandez return as catchers and junior Bryan Aponte and sophomore Vincent Caschera return to the infield. Junior Trevor Emery and sophomore Preston Carr are returning outfielders.
Childers’ expectations for the season are very clear. “I expect our team to compete each day and play quality baseball. This team has worked extremely hard for the upcoming season and I am excited about the direction we are moving. We may be young, but we have the capability to compete with anyone in the conference on any given day. I expect us to be in contention for the conference tournament. We will play hard every game and have positive attitudes regardless of outcomes.”
Goshen is currently in the midst of a post-season drought, but Childers looks for that to change. “Our goal is to play quality baseball and continue to get better each day. It has been several years since we have had the opportunity to make the post season and that is our top goal, to play well enough to earn a spot in the conference tournament.”
Childers expressed his readiness for the season to start. “I am excited for what is ahead for us this season. We have 24 great guys that have really come together and embraced what Goshen College athletics is all about. Like anything we will have some missteps along the way, but we are headed in a positive direction, a direction everyone should be proud of.”
With a healthy mix of youth and experience, this should be an exciting season for the Maple Leafs. Let’s go Leafs! #oneleaf