POUGHKEEPSIE – After a trying, 12-24 2012 season, the Vassar College baseball team heads into the 2013 season with a reformed attitude and a roster that has a lot of talent in its depth as they set their sights on the annual Florida Spring Break Trip and then … the Liberty League.
"We’re ready." Those words of head coach Jon Martin sum up the attitude and eagerness of the experienced, yet youthful Brewer squad. "We want to improve the depth of our pitching and figure out how to close the backend of a game because we had a lot of one run games last year."
Vassar despite going .500 last year in wins, had eight losses that were decided on the back of one run while also holding two, one run wins of their own. "The depth this year is a lot stronger than it has been in previous years," Martin said. "We have a young pitching squad who are very talented and we’ve also tightened up the defensive side of the ball and I think our lineup is as strong as it’s ever been. So we’re going to hit. There’s no question about that."
One of the top returning hitters is senior shortstop/right-handed pitcher Mike Perrone. "As an infielder I personally have been working on having a better hop," Perrone said. "We’re all excited to get out and play in the sun because we’ve been stuck inside and I think that everyone’s health and energy will be better with the sun."
Perrone led the team in stolen bases with 15 and assists with 84. In his 114 at-bats, he connected for 40 hits with four doubles and one home run. Perrone comes into this season with the second highest batting average at .351.
Junior outfielder Parker Werline returns, leading the Brewers with a .382 batting average. He started in all 24 games he appeared in with 34 hits, 12 runs and nine doubles. Sophomore third baseman/shortstop Jason Garfinkel and junior second baseman/right-handed pitcher Dave Robbins are two of the three players last year to have started in all 36 games. Last year’s senior Liam Lee was the only other Brewer to start in all of last year’s games.
Robbins leads Vassar with 149 at-bats and 44 hits while adding 25 runs. The long ball action will be seen off the bat of junior first baseman Brett Zaziski who made four balls go beyond the fence and also recorded two triples with 32 runs.
Senior right-handed pitcher Zander Mrlik returns on the mound with the strongest win-loss record of 3-2 and a 2.73 era. Zander retired 20 batters while allowing only 29 hits, six doubles and eight earned runs. He also came in as relief for two saves.
"The last couple of years we had a lot of close games and we definitely have the talent to make the league playoffs this year," Zander said. "That’s our goal."
Zander will be joined by younger brother Johnny Mrlik who is a sophomore left-handed pitcher and was a freshman standout on the basketball team. The Brewers return a total of six pitchers and have brought in seven more who will take pressure off the Vassar mound this season.
The Brewers open their 2013 campaign with a trip to the Russmatt Central Florida Invitational. They were slotted to play John Jay College of Criminal Justice on Tuesday, March 12, but due to inclement weather, were forced to cancel. Instead, Vassar will see the field for the first time in sunny Florida when they take on Cairn University at Lake Region High School in Eagle Lake at 11:30 am on Thursday, March 14. Thursday’s game is followed by a Friday, 9:30 am game against Medaille College and a Saturday, 2:00 pm game against Sewanee: The University of the South. The Medaille game will be in Winter Haven while Sewanee will be in Auburndale.