WILLIAMSTOWN, MA — Know the task and execute it.
That's what Williams College head baseball coach Bill Barrale is asking of his team in 2017. A simple message he hopes carries the Ephs a long way.
"Whatever the task at hand is, execute it," Barrale said. "Know the task, understand the task, execute the task."
Williams finished 13-19 a year ago, but 6-6 in the NESCAC West Division and played for a playoff spot in their final conference match-up of the season. The seven-member senior class consists of Luke Rodino, Tyler Duff, Jackson Parese, Jack Cloud, Nathan Michalski, Cole Futterman and Marcus Colella.
Rodino and Cloud are the senior captains, while junior Adam Regensburg is also a captain.
"I've been looking forward to this class and its senior year," Barrale said. "This is a talented, driven group who have done a great job guiding the team through the off-season in the weight room and during the preseason."
The great news for Barrale is that Rodino and Duff are back and healthy. They represent his No. 1 and No. 2 starters respectively and, along with Colella, the only pitchers who had an ERA under 4.00 from the 2016 squad. Rodino finished 5-3 with a 3.21 ERA and 49 strikeouts in 56 innings, while Duff went 2-3 with two saves and a 3.62 ERA. Colella came out of the pen and fashioned a 3.18 ERA, walking three and striking out six in 11 1/3 innings.
The rest of the junior class is led by Regensburg and backstop Adam Dulsky and includes second baseman Jack Roberts who missed nearly the entire season last year with an injury but has been one of the Ephs' best players as a sophomore. Lev Schechter rounds out the class.
The Eph sophomore class includes Doug Schaffer and last year's NESCAC Rookie of the Year, Kellen Hatheway, as well as David Kwan and Alex Panstares as well as utility player Jack Overholt and the aforementioned pitchers.
As for a line-up, the Ephs' trip to California and Arizona will determine a lot, but there is also a lot decided. Dulsky and Panstares will share the catching duties. Michalski and Kwan will both see time at first. Roberts will play a lot at second base, with Hatheway at short and Shaffer at third. Cloud and Regensburg will take two of the three outfield positions, with Parese getting a long look in left field but also at DH and other spots on the diamond. His bat will need to be in the line-up, Barrale noted.
The Ephs have five guys who hit over .300 during the 2016 season. Schaffer hit.352 with eight doubles. Hatheway hit .331 with 21 RBI and 5 doubles. Parese hit .324. Regensburg hit .311 with 10 doubles and 21 RBI and Cloud batted .310 with two triples.
"I think we'll hit and produce runs," Barrale said. "We don't have great speed, but we do have some outstanding baserunners. I like our catching, I think we have two of the best defensive catchers in the conference. I think we're pretty good defensively overall. Our pitching will be better, Luke will lead us, but I know some of our first-years came in and started working really hard right away and kind of opened some of our other guys' eyes. There's a new vibe."