By Myles Goldman
The LIU Post baseball team will play its first game of its last season in green and gold on Feb. 15. Instead of giving up or forfeiting the season, the baseball team is using the heartbreak due to the merger of the LIU Post and LIU Brooklyn athletic teams as motivation.
Last season, the Pioneers made it all the way to the east coast conference championship and had a winning percentage well over .500.
Michael Gaffney is ready for this season as it will be his last as head coach.
“My thoughts going into this season are that we have to try to enjoy each other as much as possible; we’re going to try to win as many games as possible and that’s the bottom line,” Gaffney said. “I really am impressed with the players and the way they push each other; the way they’re not taking the current situation for granted is awesome and it’s actually inspiring.”
Junior LIU Post health science major and first baseman, Zach Fritz emphasized the cohesiveness of the team.
“We just stick together and play for each other. Our chemistry is strong right now and that sometimes matters more than talent,” Fritz said.
However, Fritz is still a competitor and wants to win it all, especially this season.
“My goal for this season is to win a championship and beat every team that doubts us and thinks that we are packing it in because of the school merge,” Fritz said.
Senior LIU Post philosophy major and business minor Johnny Dehler, outfielder, will do whatever it takes, even affect his statistics to win it all this year.
“If I strike out 20 times this season and it somehow helps us win a championship, then I want to strike out 20 times. My performance does not matter to me and when I look back at our most impressive season two years ago, I didn’t play much but I had the most fun, so I am fine replicating that if we can win each game doing it,” Dehler said.
Due to the athletic merger of the LIU Post and LIU Brooklyn teams, some players did have to make the tough decision to walk away from the team, but that isn’t affecting the team’s morale. In fact, it seems to have reinforced the morale of those who remain on the team.
“These guys could have left mid-year and we did have a few guys leave mid-year because they did what was best for them,” Gaffney said.
“Everyone that wants to be here is here. Some players left because it was the best choice for them and good for them; why shouldn’t they do that? But everyone that is here is committed to winning the regional championship. There is zero slacking this year,” Dehler said.
This is an emotional finale for the LIU Post baseball team; it’s going to be exciting to see what lies ahead this season.
The season opener on Feb. 15 will be in Tampa against the University of Tampa. The team’s first home game is on Feb. 28 against the University of New Haven.
This article was originally published in the Pioneer, the award-winning student newspaper of LIU Post, www.liupostpioneer.com, and is republished here by Blank Slate Media with the permission of the Pioneer.