BY ZACK MARTINO
While the temperature has yet to truly get hot, the County College of Morris baseball team has been scorching their competition to become 17th in the nation among Division II junior college baseball teams.
The Titans’ 5-0 win over Lackawanna College brought their record to 4-0 in the region and 18-2 overall.
Titans head coach Brian Eberly credits the strong season opening to the team’s solid play and composure.
“I think we’ve been playing fundamentally sound,” Eberly said. “We’ve been getting good pitching. If we’ve gotten behind in some games, like we did last game against Brookdale (Community College), who is the number one ranked team in Division III of junior colleges, we don’t panic or get too down on ourselves. It seems like, overall as a team, we have confidence and go into games expecting to win.”
Liam Duffy, the Titans catcher, attributes the high intensity play level to unfinished business from last season.
“The reason for the success is that last year’s team suffered a heartbreaking loss in the regional final last year to Mercer County College,” Duffy said. “Basically, the entire team returned from last year and we kept that burning feeling inside of us to make us train harder than all of our opponents this offseason. We have had numerous amounts of wins this season against nationally ranked teams and look to continue our success as the season goes on.”
Left-handed starting pitcher Alex Busby agreed with his coach about fundamental plays being a key to victory but added that team chemistry and working together are helping fuel the winning effort.
With early success, Eberly voiced confidence that the team would keep the spirit going to maintain a strong season.
“We still have some of our biggest conference games coming up,” Eberly said. “So, I think the competition that we still have to play will help keep us focused, because we know we still have a lot of challenges ahead.”
Duffy also said the team will continue to succeed this season, citing their work ethic and positive attitudes as major assets to that end.
“With our team having this success, I am not nervous about the team losing its edge,” Duffy said. “We have a team full of motivated players who are all hungry for winning. With every day that comes, we look forward to working harder than we worked the day before. Everyone wants to get better and a lot of kids want to go on and continue their career at a four year college or university. Our team is full of great attitudes and I am confident that the team’s success will continue and we will continue to get better.”
Busby credited the probable success of the team to his coach’s ability to motivate the team members.
“I think we’ll be fine,” Busby said. “Coach Eberly really emphasizes staying level with emotions. It keeps us level and keeps us winning. I think we have a lot of energy on becoming the best and the road to that is just staying motivated, practicing hard and just keep doing everything right.”
As of now, Eberly is going to allow the team to continue its role, not make any drastic changes and believes they could get even better.
“I think we’re going to continue to let things play out in terms of who plays where and what our lineup looks like on a daily basis,” he said. “But I think we’re getting a pretty good feel for who we are. We’ve got a couple guys coming back from injury. So I expect that we should continue to improve.”
To see the baseball team in action, attend their next home game as the Titans host Mercer County Community College for a doubleheader at noon Saturday, April 15.