|Tom Beaton '10 is one of twenty letter winners returning to the 2009 roster.|
Under the direction of first-year head coach Edwin Thompson, the Bates College baseball team begins its 2009 season this week. The Bobcats began practice Sunday, Feb. 15 in the Gray Cage, and now the Bobcats are practicing and preparing for their first three games of the season at the Cal Ripken Training Facility in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Thompson was eager to begin his inaugural season. "We have all been looking forward to getting back to working on baseball," he said. "This is a great opportunity for our program to be outside during the first week of practice and play at a great facility as we enter a new era in Bates Baseball.”
The 2009 season will indeed have a fresh look after the team lost 12 players to graduation in 2008, many of who were everyday starters.
“It will be interesting to see what our identity will be after losing so many great players,” Thompson said.
With the loss of many key players, the Bobcats will be looking to experienced returners as well as talented role players to step into key positions and leadership roles. The team has a plethora of senior leadership starting with captain Ben Shwartz (Mattapoisett, Mass.). The Bobcats return 20 letter winners, including nine seniors. Bates also welcomes the addition of eight talented first-years to this year’s team.
Returning impact players include sophomore infielder Jake Simon (Waterford, Conn.) who led the team in doubles last season and finished the season tied with Dennis Hogan '08 (Franklin, Mass.) for the team lead in home runs. Junior outfielder Tom Beaton (West Newbury, Mass.) also returns as an everyday starter after posting solid offensive numbers in 2008. On the mound, senior pitcher Chuck Murphy-Romboletti (Holyoke, Mass.) returns after posting the second lowest opponents batting average against Bates pitchers. Junior Ryan Horvath (Fort Myers, Fla.) will also help out the rotation after posting the second lowest ERA last season, 3.97, in seven appearances.
The Bobcats kick-off the 2009 regular season on Friday, Feb. 20 against Alma (Mich.) College at 4 p.m. On Saturday they'll play Richard Stockton College at 10 a.m., followed by another date with Alma at 7 p.m. Bates’ home opener is Mar. 31 against Husson at 3 p.m. at Leahey Field.