Baseball moves forward with full roster

Senior and captain Michael Burton Jr. swings at a pitch during a game against Salisbury University at the Kenneth R. Perry Field.

Josh Pagett|Marlin Chronicle

The Marlins were not very successful on the baseball diamond in 2023 and look to bounce back in 2024 with a much larger roster. 

Different from other years in the past, the coaching staff recruited many new players. The current roster includes 34 first-years and two transfers. 

While there are many first-year players on the Marlins, they do have a good amount of juniors and seniors with plenty of experience, serving as leaders. “The older guys on the team do a great job of teaching the younger guys,” first-year catcher Nathan Bryant said.

Even though the first-year students are not seeing as much playing time as they would like, most of them are keeping a positive attitude. They are gathering experience with every practice and game, even if they are not playing all the time. “It will really help next year when all the seniors graduate,” first-year Jason Caccavaro said.

An idea that was proposed for the Marlins in response to the lack of playing time for the first-years was creating a Junior Varsity team, but they decided not to. After that decision was made, some people began to rethink their futures in playing baseball at VWU. 

“That’s why I decided to quit,” first-year Ryan Britt said. Knowing he may not play a lot, he decided to move on from the team and focus on other things.

After a slow start to the season, the Marlins have won some games against St. Mary’s College of Maryland, Alfred State College, William Peace University and others. As of now, the Marlins’ record stands at 13 wins and 9 losses as of March 26, winning some key games against Southern Virginia and Guilford.

Following those games, they battled against number 4 ranked Salisbury but came up short. Next, they split games in a doubleheader against a conference opponent, Eastern Mennonite University. They lost that first game 8-11 but won the second game 17-11.

The Marlins played a makeup game against an out-of-conference team, Washington College, on Tuesday, March 19, where they won 14-4. 

They then went on to play the University of Lynchburg on Wednesday, March 20. Lynchburg, who are ranked 21 nationally and the defending National Champions, pulled out the win 19-10, but not without a fight from the Marlins. 

The Marlins had brought it back to a tie game 10-10 in the bottom of the fifth inning thanks to a grand slam by Bryant.

The Marlins play again on Saturday, March 30, where they will host Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) opponent Shenandoah at 12 p.m. and 3 p.m. at Kenneth R. Perry Field. 

By: Brian Madden