Manhattan Baseball’s Competitive Schedule Gives the Jaspers Confidence Heading into MAAC Play

One thing that this team has embraced is change. Whether it’s a change in the coaching staff, injuries, or the starting lineup, the Jaspers adapted and overcame adversity. @JASPERBASEBALL/COURTESY

By Maddie Mulkigian, Senior Writer 

At first glance at Manhattan College’s baseball 6-13 record, one can question whether or not the Jaspers will make an impact in the MAAC in 2023. However, upon closer inspection, the Jaspers competed against some of the top baseball talents in the country against Cal Bakersfield, Lehigh, and Texas. Therefore, the 6-13 record does not reflect the deep-rooted talent that fills Manhattan’s team. 

One week before conference play begins, the Jaspers are confident that their tough schedule prepared them for the talent they are going to face in the powerhouses of Fairfield, Marist and Rider. After a trail of disappointing seasons, this level of competition could be exactly what the Jaspers need to succeed in the 2023 season. 

“I think I think there was some frustration the first two weeks being more of a younger squad when we didn’t have the results that we wanted against pretty deep pitching,” sixth-year Jack Lynch said. “Older guys like me and Pete and a bunch of the other seniors and players that have been here understand that that’s just part of the baseball season. I think going into MAAC play and the pitching that we’re gonna see we’re gonna find a lot of success.”

For a young team with loads of potential, the pressure is not only on the freshmen stepping up and experiencing their first collegiate games, but it’s also on the upperclassmen and new coaching staff to lead every member of the squad. 

“I think the older guys have done a great job of kind of helping younger guys feel comfortable about going out there playing,” Coach Dave Miller said. “This is a very unusual year. Freshman at third base. Freshmen at second base. They’ve done a great job of allowing them to kind of come into this program so easily and they’re teaching, molding, and mentoring them. We’re trying to set a standard for the culture that we want, which is a process, but I think a lot of the older guys have done a great job of setting the example.”

However, Coach Miller’s focus is not on a player’s experience or grade, but instead on the impact that they will have on the field. As another new member to the Jaspers, Miller provides a fresh perspective when it comes to starting players who are going to give Manhattan the best odds at winning a MAAC championship.  

“I can tell you from a coaching standpoint, I always embrace team competition, because if you’re the starting centerfielder on Tuesday doesn’t guarantee you’re going to be that guy on Wednesday or Friday,” Miller said. “You have to go out there every day and work hard and prepare and if you get in the lineup, it’s an opportunity to showcase what you do. You got to go out there and really work hard every practice. Earn everything that you get.”

One thing that this team has embraced is change. Whether it’s a change in the coaching staff, injuries, or the starting lineup, the Jaspers adapted and overcame adversity. Miller and the rest of the coaching staff have instilled a mindset that has helped the team overcome this year’s challenges.

“I think that a big part of this game is having a short-term memory,” senior Pete Durocher said. “Although I have to work on it, myself, I think this team has some pretty thick skin. We’re all here because we love the game, and we want to play and we can’t really let one game dictate the next game. In order to do the best we can the next game, you have to flush what just happened.” 

This short-term memory proved effective when the Jaspers were swept by Texas and then came back five days later to sweep Hartford. While the series against Hartford built up Manhattan’s confidence, it also proved the potential success that the Jaspers could have when competing against teams in the northeast. 

If the Jaspers can maintain their championship-driven mentality and build their confidence as their season continues, they will be an unexpected force in the conference. Manhattan College’s baseball team has taken on some of the top teams in the country and is now feeling confident and ready to take on the MAAC.