By Chris Gionta
Looking up and down the Springfield College baseball team’s lineup, not one weakness can be identified. Players at the bottom of the Pride’s order would be at the top of many other NEWMAC lineups.
“We’ve got guys that can stroke the ball up and down the lineup, and we’ve got guys that can run, too,” said Springfield head coach Mark Simeone. “So I think offensively we’re always going to put pressure on defenses.”
Simeone is in his 26th year as head coach of the Pride, and the offensive production he has seen from the 2022 team has certainly stood out to him.
“I’ve had some good offensive clubs over the years, but this is definitely a solid one,” Simeone said.
The Springfield offense has scored 264 runs in 33 games — good for an astounding average of eight per game. The team batting average (AVG) is .317 with an on-base percentage (OBP) of .411 and a slugging percentage (SLG) of .458. It has also slugged for 20 home runs.
The archives for Springfield baseball’s team batting statistics go back to 2011, and since they have been tracked, a Pride offense has not had a higher batting average, slugging percentage nor home run total than they currently have in 2022. The only season in which they had a higher on-base percentage was in 2020, which was a season in which only five games were played.
Leading the way for the Pride is graduate first baseman Noah Bleakley. He is hitting .357 with a 1.057 on-base-plus-slugging (OPS) in 147 plate appearances. He has 19 extra-base hits, which include six home runs. As far back as the statistical archives go, there has not been an individual at Springfield to hit more home runs in a season than Bleakley has this year. He also has driven in almost a run per game, with 31 runs batted in in 32 games. Bleakley leads the team in runs scored, hits, doubles, triples, home runs, and RBI.
Right behind him in hits is a fellow graduate student — coming from the opposite side of the diamond — third baseman Jack Simonetty. He is hitting .333 with an .890 OPS in 131 plate appearances, has stroked three home runs and has driven in 25 runs.
“Jack Simonetty is having a career year to this point in time,” Simeone said.
After an unideal start to his season, graduate outfielder Jack Cooney has returned to form as one of the Pride’s offensive stars. In his last 13 games, he has hit .444 with a .576 OBP, alongside 16 RBI.
The catcher position has seen some unparalleled production from the batter’s box. Ryan Sorgi and Cadin Maynard have shared time behind the plate, with one usually being assigned the designated hitter role while the other is catching. Sorgi is hitting .367 with a .997 OPS, and his nine doubles on the year tie Bleakley for the team lead. His 29 RBI also rank second for Springfield.
“Sorgi is having a great year as a sophomore,” Simeone said. “[He] didn’t play a lot last year as a freshman. I think he’s been more of a surprise offensively. I knew he was a good, solid receiver and catcher.”
Maynard, meanwhile, has a .346 AVG with a .910 OPS, three home runs and 24 RBI. He proved key against Clark on Saturday in the second game of the Pride’s doubleheader. Springfield was down 9-7 in the 8th inning with two men on, and Maynard hit a home run to take the lead.
No matter where you look in the lineup, there is an important producer. Joe Traversa has been vital with his .342 AVG and .897 OPS, and Noah Diamond has come up clutch in high-leverage situations with 24 RBI — fourth-most on the team.
“Noah Diamond has been really solid and a guy who was a part-time player last year,” Simeone said. “[He] has driven in a lot of runs — getting big hits in big spots.”
Joe Penkala has been a spark plug at points for the offense, and that was emphasized in an April 22 game where his bunt single sparked a rally that put the Pride ahead in the game.
Even players not regularly starting have stood out in their limited time in the batter’s box. First-year players Cole Zalegowski and Luke DiMauro both have 40 or more plate appearances and an on-base percentage of at least .500. Zalegowski is also hitting above .400.
The Pride’s offense has been the heart and soul of the team, and is a large reason they are 9-4 in conference play to put them in third place in the NEWMAC. They wrap up their regular season with conference matchups against Emerson and Coast Guard, with the Pride facing the Bears three times.
Photo: Springfield College Athletics