Club baseball swings back into action

The Geneseo club baseball team, also known as the Mudcats, is one of the most competitive club teams here on campus, despite minimal funding from the school and having to manage, coach, recruit and organize all team activities on their own.

Playing at the Division II club level, the Mudcats split their 22-game season between a fall and a spring campaign. The Mudcats play mostly area Division II club teams including Syracuse University, SUNY Cortland and the University of Buffalo. This fall the team had one of the best records for a Division II club team in the nation, going 7-1 overall and putting them in prime position to make a run for the postseason.

Junior Brandon Ewald, who splits his playing time between catcher and second base, articulated the team's hopes for the postseason.

"We had one of the best records in the nation this fall so hopefully we can make it to Regionals and maybe even the World Series," he said.

This spring, however, their only action has come in the form of a team trip to Tampa, Fla. for the National Club Baseball Association Showcase over Spring Break. The Showcase is a four-week event, featuring club teams from across the country and giving teams from less temperate climates a chance to get out and play some ball. While there, the Mudcats played three doubleheaders against some of the top Division I teams including the University of Illinois, NYU and Xavier. This tough competition proved to be a challenge for the Mudcats, as they finished the week 1-5.

"It was just good to get out there and play on a real field," said senior shortstop Chris Tripodi. "I think it will help us when our season starts up again here."

The Mudcats squad consists of a core group of about 20 players with high-school baseball experience, and the team is led by senior center fielder Greg Feltes.

When asked about his team's prospects for the spring, Feltes replied, "Our hitting and defense has become very strong and our pitching is also beginning to come around too, with at least three talented starting pitchers."

In addition to playing center field, Feltes manages the day-to-day operation of the team and coaches the team during practice and games. He is also in charge of working with the Student Association for team funding, along with managing the relationship with the league, the National Club Baseball Association.

The team practices three times a week, splitting their practices between Kuhl Gym on Sunday afternoons from 2-4 and during open gym on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The Mudcats also practice at Geneseo High School and play their home games at Dansville High School.