BY ZACK MARTINO
After a 2016 baseball campaign that included a trip to the Region XIX DII Championship Game, the County College of Morris Titans are getting ready to build off of that in the 2017 season.
The Titans narrowly lost to Mercer County College 6-7 in the championship game last season and head coach Brian Eberly said he believes the experience gained from that run can help make this season a successful one.
“I think last year we were, for as well as we did, we were predominantly freshman and we’re returning the bulk of our team,” Eberly said. “Our top arms are both back. Eight out of the nine guys in our lineup are back. Just that experience factor I think is going to be big for us. We brought in a number of transfers and talented recruits that are going to supplement what we’re already bringing back. But as far as just the quality of returners, I think we are set up. As far as compared to my previous teams here, on paper this should be the best team I’ve had.”
One of those returning players is starting pitcher Alex Busby who is in his second season at CCM. He also said that despite losing a few players, those newly added could add a lot to the team.
“We lost a few guys but we picked up a couple more, so I have big expectations,” he said.
Both Eberly and Busby think the biggest aspect of the game the team will excel with, besides experience, is pitching. The two also agree that the newest editions to the pitching rotation will greatly benefit the team.
“I think our pitching will be much improved,” Eberly said. “I think we are a lot deeper. We have Alex Busby and Jim Fluke returning from last year. We brought in a couple Division 1 transfers and a talented group of freshmen that I think make us a lot deeper.”
Busby said he recognizes that their pitching crew is going to need to be more robust, but he is not worried about the challenge.
“Our pitching is definitely going to be something great this year,” said Busby. “A lot of the freshmen are going to have to step up and stuff like that, but I think they can do it. We’ve picked up a couple transfers and everything that are going to be big parts of the staff. Hopefully that can make something roll.”
Despite the team having recent success, some students at CCM have yet to attend a game. One of these such students is liberal arts major at CCM, Troy Curtis.
“I would definitely be interested in seeing the team play,” he said. “I wanted to go last year but I just never got the chance.”
Curtis also insists on his fellow classmates to go out and support their team.
“I do think it is important for CCM students to know about their teams and support them,” he said. “I know if I was playing a collegiate sport, I would want people to come to my games.”
There is one game in particular that Eberly has in mind and CCM students should too.
“Mercer for us is the big competition,” Eberly said. “That’s who eliminated us in the championship of the region last year. That’s certainly a date that I have circled on our calendar.”
Students can go out and catch the doubleheader on April 15 starting at 12:00 p.m. at CCM.