SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Sports

March 27, 2014

Salem State reloading, looks forward to conference competition

The Salem State University baseball team isn’t looking to be judged based on the first few weeks of the season. Though they’re a finished product, the Vikings are focused on where they’re going to be at the end of the season.

The defending MASCAC champions went 3-7 on their spring training trip to Florida. That’s the same record they had coming home last year, and Salem State went on a 22-6 run to the NCAA tournament when they came North. Based on that alone, there’s no need for the Vikings to panic.

“It’s somewhat of a slow start, but one of the things about that trip is we schedule some of the best teams in the country. We play Marietta, which has won national championships. We make it a challenging trip,” said Salem State head coach Mike Ward.

The Vikings, whose game against Suffolk yesterday was moved to Friday, are now 6-9 on the year. They also face regional power Wheaton before opening MASCAC action against Fitchburg State on Saturday.

Salem State’s lineup is dotted with veterans that have produced at the collegiate level. Sophomore Richard Fecteau, who played briefly in the Cape Cod League last summer, is hitting .491 and started all 15 games. Matt Burgess is hitting .346 and Kyle McElroy, and All-MASCAC second team pick a year ago, is at .342.

“All four guys in the middle of our lineup are off to strong starts,” Ward said. “The middle of the order has some guys who were outstanding last year, and they’re picking it up where they left off.”

Catcher is a position of strength for the Vikings. Gloucester’s Brett Cahill, an All-New England pick behind the dish as a sophomore and the All-MASCAC designated hitter last year, is hitting .396 and is tied for the team lead in RBI with 12. When he DH’s, Beverly native Mike Lamothe (who attended Pingree) is an excellent backstop, and Peabody native Genaro Ciulla has seen innings behind the dish as well.

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