Leopards lead off in Virginia

Jessica Deutsch

First Game: Virginia Military Institute. Friday, Feb. 21 at 4:00 p.m.

Last Season: Lafayette has spent all winter preparing for its season opener, arriving back to campus on January 20 for preseason training. Inclement weather forced the team to spend their time pitching and hitting in an indoor facility.

Lafayette was 10-40 overall last season and 6-14 in the Patriot League. It will be a young team this year as key offensive players like Kevin Casey, Scott Kelleher and Andrew Ruck graduated last year. Pitcher Mike Massa, who was the highest winning starter at 3-8, also graduated.

Upcoming Season: 23 of the 34 active players are freshmen and sophomores. Returning sophomores Jackson Kramer, Tyler Hudson and Campbell Lipe received playing time last season while Mitchell Leeds and Ari Kaufman have a combined eight starts.

Senior captain Andrew Santomauro will bat in the heart of the lineup along with juniors Zach Gross and Parker Hills. Unfortunately, there have been some injuries along the way. Kramer is suffering from a cracked elbow and Hudson with a potential sports hernia.

Player to Watch: Connor Ortolf – LH Pitcher/Captain

Preseason MVP: Andrew Santomauro – Centerfielder/Captain

Quotes to Note…

Andrew Santomauro – “We have this concept that started from former player Joe Maddon which is that every time you make contact with the ball as a hitter it’s call a ‘Hard 90’. When you make contact or anything you do in the sport you just go all out. That stems into every other aspect in how we play, put 100 percent effort into everything we do on and off the field.”

Head Coach Joe Kinney – “Based on our fall practices and some of our preseason practices, pitching is our strength. We feel that way in terms of performance, experience and ability that our guys have. We are looking forward to seeing what they can do and really expecting them to ideally lead our team as we go in each and every day.”