Aiden Konold ’26
Holy Cross baseball has struggled out of the gates, currently holding an overall record of 4-12, fifth place in the Patriot League above sixth place Lafayette, currently at 3-12. Despite Holy Cross’ record this season, there is considerable reason to be optimistic as Holy Cross fields a very young team. Holy Cross showed great signs of promise during their trip to the Carolinas over spring break, racking up wins against Dartmouth, Wagner, and Penn State. Three of Holy Cross’ four wins thus far this season have come against teams with winning records, Purdue currently holding a record of 8-7, Wagner holding a record of 8-6, and Penn State holding a record of 9-5. Each of these wins is very impressive for Holy Cross, as both Purdue and Penn State play in the highly competitive Big 10 Conference, in which Penn State currently holds third place and Purdue holds ninth place of thirteen teams, and Wagner currently holds onto second place of the eleven teams in the Northeast Conference.
As Holy Cross head coach Ed Kahovec said of his young team to Spectrum News 1, “Really excited about this team… We have some upperclassmen anchoring the mound, but for the most part it’s all freshmen and sophomores. So there’s glimpses and flashes of excellence which is really exciting. But with any young player, young team, it’s going to be that level of consistency that’s lacking especially early in the year.” Early on, we’re seeing that lack of consistency which is to be expected of a younger team, though the weather certainly hasn’t made it any easier on Holy Cross. With the wintry weather still flowing into Worcester, Holy Cross has yet to practice outdoors on their baseball field. Of the 16 games Holy Cross has played thus far, half have been played against teams south of the Mason-Dixon line, where playing conditions have allowed those teams to practice outdoors on their fields. As Holy Cross enters Patriot League play in the coming weeks, they will be squared up against teams with similar field conditions, which will allow us to view Holy Cross’ baseball team in more even matchups.
Offensively, Holy Cross has found success, scoring 97 runs through its first 16 games or about 6.06 runs per game. Holy Cross has struggled defensively, though, but improvement is likely as the team is able to better prepare in the coming weeks as Worcester transitions to spring weather, giving the team the opportunity to prepare on their field. These defensive struggles have made it difficult to win games, though there is excitement for the team’s season going forward as Holy Cross fields a very young and hard working team.
The Holy Cross pitching staff is made up of 11 underclassmen, a sign that Holy Cross baseball is set up for long-term success as these young arms develop under the leadership of the 6 upperclassmen on the pitching staff. Holy Cross’ two best pitchers statistically are junior right-handers Matt Remley and Payton Sutman respectively ERA and B/AVG -wise, though 3 of Holy Cross’ 4 wins this season have come from underclassmen, in freshman right-hander Oliver Brown, a very promising two-way player out of Alaska, freshman right-hander Jaden Wywoda, and sophomore right-hander, Augie Walters. These young pitchers have been forced to step up in big roles as the Holy Cross pitching staff has experienced significant setbacks due to injury early on in the season.
Of the 18 position players on the Holy Cross baseball roster, including two-way players, only 4 are upperclassmen, while just two of those four are seniors. Only 2 of the 7 Holy Cross position players who have played in at least 75% of their games and have had at least 2 plate appearances per game are upperclassmen.
The current Holy Cross batting average leader is Sean Scanlon, a two-way sophomore pitcher and first-baseman who is currently hitting .310 with 18 hits in 58 at bats with 14 runs batted in (RBIs) and 6 doubles to go along with one homer. Scanlon has started in all 16 games, appearing on the mound in 5 of those 16 games. Scanlon was awarded Patriot League Player of the Week honors March 7th after leading Holy Cross offensively to their three wins during their trip to Cary, North Carolina over Dartmouth, Wagner, and Penn State. During the four game stretch in Cary, North Carolina, Scanlon hit .474 with an on-base percentage of .524, totaling 11 RBIs, adding four doubles and a homer to his season totals.
Jack Toomey, freshman outfielder, was awarded Patriot League Rookie of the Year honors on February 28th after hitting .333 and batting in 4 runs in Holy Cross’ four game series at VMI, and he is currently hitting .277 with three home runs and eight RBIs. Such success from young players is very promising and under the leadership of the upperclassmen and with guidance from the coaching staff, these young players will likely mature into leaders in their own right in the games and years to come.
Holy Cross baseball fans need to support this young team and give them time to develop this season. Being able to finally practice outdoors on their own baseball field will make a world of a difference in adequately preparing this young team for their upcoming games. The Crusaders play another non-league three game series this weekend starting Friday, March 17th, at Seton Hall. Holy Cross starts Patriot League play Friday, March 24th, at home against Army, who currently holds a 6-8 record, good for third place in the Patriot League.
As sophomore Sean Scanlon told Spectrum News 1 of the Holy Cross team this season, “We definitely have a lot of young guys… Good energy so far, it’s a next man up mentality, a lot of depth on this team. I really like our chances this year for the Patriot League.” As Patriot League play ramps up, this next man up mentality will be crucial for Holy Cross to maintain a good position within their league and come ready to compete against their division rivals.
Featured image courtesy of Holy Cross Twitter
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