By Maddie Mulkigian, Contributer
When the MAAC announced its mid-season baseball statistics leaders, there was not a category without a Jasper named. With Matt Padre leading the NCAA in walks, John Farley pitching 21 scoreless innings, Peter Durocher leading the MAAC in runs batted in, and David Bermudez all over the offensive leaderboard, the Jaspers collectively proved that they are more than competitors in the conference.
While the team continues to battle other MAAC schools as playoffs approach, the announcement of the offensive and pitching leaderboard allowed the Jaspers to reflect on the progress they have made since the start of their season.
“We were kind of going through some growing pains. There were a lot of turnovers this year, but we were also playing teams in the south at the beginning of the year who can play outdoors all year round, so they have the upper hand,” said Matt Padre when reflecting on the beginning of the team’s season. “Seven games is a small sample size when it comes to a 54-game season, so I think just staying comfortable and sticking to what we know to do is important in moving forward.”
One thing that has remained constant throughout the team’s season is its chemistry and support system. No matter what’s going on in the games or how a teammate is performing, each player has developed immense trust in one another.
“We’ve always had that competitive nature, but it was portrayed in a negative space. Everybody wanted to compete and wanted to be great, but they didn’t necessarily care about what the other guys were doing. Especially last year, everybody was competitive, but at the same time everyone wanted their own stats to be great,” said junior pitcher Kyle Lesler. “This year, we have a lot of guys competing for top spots, but at the same time, everybody falls back on one another. I think that team atmosphere and chemistry was our biggest jump.”
Despite the competition for leading spots on the team and in the MAAC, those on the leaderboard feel more love and support for their successes than they’ve ever felt. A major aspect of this infectious team chemistry is the leadership that both Matt Padre exudes within the team.
“All I do on the mound is what Matt Padre tells me to do,” said transfer pitcher John Farley. “Whatever he tells me to do, I do it.”
Padre’s influence on the team has created an environment in which the players are fully enjoying every moment of their season. With a strong leader and consistent team chemistry, the team can continue to grow and focus on what they need to improve to succeed as the season progresses.
“The one thing that we see over and over again and need to grow upon is as a pitching staff we need to be more competitive and take that next jump to the next level compared to where we are now across the board, myself included,” said Lesler. “There’s always room to grow. We see our hitters getting better every week and taking better approaches, and if the pitchers can continue to do that too, it will give us a really big edge going into playoffs.”
Based on the current numbers that the team is putting on the board, they should have the momentum, confidence, and talent to continue to improve and establish themselves as a top-tier team in the MAAC.
“We’re all enjoying every moment,” said Pete Durocher. “We all show up and enjoy what we’re doing and try to work toward that one common goal instead of 37 individual goals.”
With all 37 players zoned in on each other and each game ahead, the Jaspers are ready for their game performance to reflect the numbers that each player is putting up at the top of the conference. The Jaspers are prepared to control both the stat leaderboards and the rest of their season.