By Joan Harris, contributing writer
In the 2021 spring baseball season, a promising roster failed to reach consistent success and find dependable footing. This year, however, will be a different story as senior leaders step up to guide their team through a prosperous few months. Many veteran players will return to the field for a second chance at triumph, while new, fresh faces will take on open spots with eagerness. The team possesses great overall skill, with Jacob Santikulanont standing solid at first base and Riley Williams dominating the mound as the pitcher.
Williams, who recently committed to Mercy College as a baseball recruit, has routinely cemented himself as the strong anchorage for the team, leading them both on and off the field. The loss of class of 2021 student Orion Daily, who was immensely influential toward his peers, has been strongly seen throughout the team’s dynamic, though their current passion seems auspicious enough to power through.
James Mack, a senior outfielder for the Whalers, maintains an optimistic outlook about the coming months, saying, “I one-hundred-percent think this season will be better than the last. I can already see strong improvements in both the team chemistry and effort this year.” Mack isn’t the only player who shares this point of view, as well. Shea Dwyer, a sophomore outfielder, is impressed with the progress the team has made in the short time he’s been a member. “We have been working hard to further our skills and fundamentals,” Dwyer claims, “if our communication is there, we will be great.”
Last season, the Whalers fell short in their division with a 1-13 (7%) record. They finished in sixth place for the Cape and Islands League and won their sole game in a home match against Rising Tide. However, these statistics do not display the impressive improvements the team made as they concluded their season, which was seen in the difference between a 5/17 2-17 loss, and a 6/15 0-3 loss against Martha’s Vineyard.
This betterment was apparent throughout the season and the contrast between rematches was truly astronomical. Santikulanont believes that the boys will continue on this streak and relieve their reputation. He pinpoints that a strength they possess will be their pitching abilities as he says, “I feel like our pitching will be good this year, we have a few solid people at that position.” The players he’s speaking about include Williams and junior Colin Lynch, who will surely step up in big ways to fill Daily’s absence.
Argenis Nunez, the junior catcher, is a seasoned player and will continue to aid the team with his secure leadership skills. His agility and throwing capabilities have allowed for an active home base. Sam Crisler, a junior third baseman, has maintained and guarded the so-called “hot corner” well in the face of aggressive hits. In naming the team’s objectives throughout the spring, he states, “We just need to keep our heads down and focus on the task at hand to show what we are capable of.”
The Whalers know exactly what they need to do to reach success this year, and are determined to hone their skills in these areas of weakness. This willingness to confront their difficulties will be a good quality for the team, and Santikulanont believes their number one incapacity remains their batting abilities. He says, “Our major weakness is definitely our batting. It’s always been a struggle to get the bats rolling for us.”
As the boys head into another baseball season, the confidence in their standing will hopefully allow for a successful last year for the prepared senior class.