The infusion of great young talent and energy, combined with a senior class on a mission, foretells great things for the Wesleyan baseball squad in 2009.
The team members once again will challenge themselves on the spring trip to Arizona and California, but also with a very strong schedule up north. That level of competition will bring out the best in the team and the players.
The 2009 Cardinals will combine both successful, experienced pitchers with some exciting new faces on the hill. Dusty Mones '09 and Jon Sargent '09 have had numerous successful outings over their careers, while Mike Cifuentes '10 was a key pitcher in 2008, and James Hounsell '11 is on the cusp of a break-out season. Newcomers who are likely to make an impact will be Mike Barsotti '12, Dan Thomsen '12 and Brett Yarusi '12. The staff will be rounded out with the strong competitiveness of starting position players including Drew Dominguez '09, Garrett Lamborn '09 and Derek Dettorre '11.
Offensively, head captains Dominguez (photo, right side) and Lamborn (photo, left side) look to follow their outstanding junior seasons. Dominguez set the Wesleyan record for seasonal hits with 56 while batting .361. Lamborn swung at a .380 clip. Brice Kelly '10, Nick Gonsalves '10 and Julian Sonnenfeld '11 also have had great success in their young careers, while undoubtedly, a couple breakthrough seasons will come from a core of exciting young hitters.
Jeff Bizinkauskas '10 has had the most experience and success behind the plate for the Cardinals, while Jon Sheehan '11 and newcomers David Skura '12 and Tom Miceli '12, whose dad captained the 1981 baseball squad at Wesleyan, will also vie for playing time.
Defensively, the Cardinals will feature some experience in the infield, thanks to the wizardry of Dominguez at shortstop, Kelly at second base, and the third baseman Sonnenfield. Dettore and Sheehan will also be crucial elements of the infield, while playing time at first base will be challenged for by newcomers Phil Rosenblum '12 and Alex Meadow '12.
The outfield is anchored by the steady, experienced hands of right-fielder Gonsalves. Spots in center and left field will be challenged for by a host of athletic fielders including Lamborn and Alex Early '09, Justin Freres '11, Dettorre, Sheehan, and newcomers Kyle Weiss '12, Meadow and Brandyn Cooper '12.
Wesleyan kicks off the 2009 season by visiting Arizona for a four-game set with both Swarthmore and U. of Pittsburgh-Bradford between Sun., March 8 and Fri., March 13. After a five-day layoff, the Cardinals will be in Menlo, Calif. for a four-game series with the local squad March 19-21. The northern schedule opens Thurs., March 26 at home vs. Coast Guard.