‘Chemistry’ will set tone on break

Written By Alex Stumpf

As of Sunday afternoon, many Point Park students will be relaxing and enjoying their Spring break. Some may even go down to Florida to catch some sun. However, even though the baseball team is heading down to Florida during Spring break, they are going to work hard.Instead of relaxing, the Pioneers will be traveling down to Winter Haven, Florida to play 10 games in five days while at the Russmat Invitational. They participated last season in the same event and finished with a 4-5 record. They ended the season with a 13-26 mark, their best record in three seasons.”It told the story of our season,” junior pitcher and outfielder Derek Peluso said in a phone interview. “We started off slow, so we had to play catch up and we ended up barely losing.””Regardless if you lose a lot of games down there or win a lot of games down there, it has a real impact on the season,” team captain infielder Bryce Pfeuffer said in a phone interview.Even though these games are non-conference games, it is still important for everyone to try to start out the season strong. Last year’s squad dropped the first three contests in the invitational in route to a sub-500 season. If they want to be in the playoff hunt late in the year, coming out of this tournament with a winning record would be key.”Every game is important. It’s all about team chemistry,” freshman Jonathan Tasis said in a phone interview. “We need to play with a chip on our shoulder.”Team chemistry could become one of the biggest x-factors on this year’s team, especially because are 23 players new to the squad. Team chemistry is always in question when new players are added to the team. A few early season wins may be the difference in how well this team plays together down the stretch.”It’s really important for all of us to get started on the right foot,” Pfeuffer said.However, winning games is not the only motive of the trip. This may serve as a final audition for some players as they try to convince the coaching staff to increase their playing time or settle any outstanding position battles.”There is only so much we can see and evaluate about a player in practice,” Peluso said. “We need to see them respond and preform in game situations.”This invitational will probably serve to be the safest place to test out players in game situations. If they lose a game because they take a starter out, it will not affect their playoff hopes. And perhaps the extra playing time a player receives in these games could be the difference in an important conference matchup down the stretch.”We’re going to have the best nine people out there for each game situation,” Tasis said.This invitational will not make or break this season, but if the Pioneers want to remain in the playoff hunt in the latter parts of the season, these early season games may be credited for a large portion of the turnaround.”We’re going to go out there and we are going to give 100%. Hopefully we get out of there with a good record and have a strong start to our season,” Pfeuffer said.If they leave Florida with a good record, maybe this could be a year to remember.