Madonna baseball has high hopes for 2015 season
By Emma Cook
After finishing fourth in the conference at the end of last season, the Madonna baseball team is looking to improve their standing this coming season.
The team lost seven seniors at the end of last season, but welcomes 12 newcomers.
Coach Greg Haeger is entering his 19th season as the team’s head coach and has high hope for their success this year.
“The ultimate goal for us this year will be to win the conference tournament and make it to the World Series in Idaho,” said Haeger. “Our pitching staff will be key this year. We have Evan Piechota returning this year who had a great season last year. We also have 9 new arms to add to our staff and we will need them to step up this year too."
Evan Piechota, a red shirt junior, ended last season 5-3 with a 2.55 ERA in his 70 innings pitched. He also received All-WHAC honorable mention and was named on college baseball’s “NAIA Players to Watch” list along with junior second baseman, Shane Dokey.
“Along with Piechota, we have a couple other players that we are looking at to lead the team this year,” said Haeger. “Junior first baseman John Lauro, sophomore shortstop Ryan Lambrecht, red shirt sophomore Taylor Grzelakowski, and Shane Dokey are all going to key to the team’s success this year.”
“Right now the question is going to be at third base. We have a couple new comers, Cole Rize and Levi Lamour who will get a shot at third along with junior Chase Dobbie. We also have three young guys who will get a chance at catching this year; red shirt sophomore Matt Deneau, freshman Mitch Hudvagner, and freshman Kohl Roberts.”
Grzelakowski, who will be playing right field this season, knows exactly what his team needs to do and is very optimistic about the upcoming season.
“Coach Haeger has focused a lot on setting goals for ourselves this year. Our main goal is always to go step by step,” said Grzelakowski. “Short term goals and then long term goals. Our short-term goals are to win our conference and then the conference tournament; our team long-term goal is to get to Idaho, which is where the NAIA World Series is held. Individually I just need to keep working on my game especially changing my position from infield to outfield is going to take a lot of practice and reps to get used to.”
Team chemistry will also be key to the team’s success this season.
“Unity is going to be a huge key this year. I have been here for three years and this has been the closest team I have been a part of,” said Grzelakowski. “We compete within our team everyday, but when push comes to shove, we have each other’s backs and want everyone to succeed. We have very strong team chemistry and that, along with all the hard work we have been putting in, will be a huge part of our success this year.”
Madonna baseball opens up their season on Feb. 13 in Tennessee against Shawnee State and you can catch their first home game March 21 against Marygrove College.