Head coach Aaron Michael enters his third season at the helm of the College of Southern Maryland Hawks baseball team as the program will look to improve upon a 15-28 overall record from last season.

“The boys have been working really hard this year,” Michael said. “We’re excited about what they’re capable of doing and we think that it’s just a matter of playing well. If our guys play well, then we’re going to be pretty successful this year.”

Last season CSM finished 4-22 in Maryland Junior College Athletic Conference play and missed out on the postseason. The Hawks are aiming to play playoff baseball this year for the first time since the 2014 season.

“One of the big things that we’ve been talking about since day one is we want to make the playoffs,” Michael said. “We want to try to get ourselves a chance in the postseason to see how good a team we can be. Our goal is to give ourselves that opportunity to get to the playoffs and give ourselves an opportunity to see just how good we are.”

The NJCAA Region XX Division II ranks added two more teams into the mix this year in Chesapeake College and Montgomery College. There will be a total of 11 schools competing for the eight spots in the tournament.

“We stress the importance of focus, we stress the importance of preparing everyday and treating each day as another opportunity to get better,” Michael said. “As long as they’re continuing to do that, then they’ll meet adversity head on, they’re not going to shy away from it. I don’t see this team doing that.”

Captains for this year’s squad include sophomore catcher Matt Schnoor, sophomore outfielder Seth Morrison and sophomore pitcher Scott Logue.

“I’m looking forward to this season with this new group of guys,” Logue said. “The returners we have from last year are solid and we have some kids with good talent coming in. The team this year has more chemistry and more than half the team has played with each other or against each other growing up.”

Schnoor and Morrison are returning starters from last season’s squad in addition to outfielders Matt Fitch and Justin Hitt. All four played in at least 27 games last year. Schnoor and Hitt each hit one home run last season, while Morrison led the quartet with 18 hits and Fitch led the group with nine stolen bases.

Returning this season to the pitcher’s mound include Nick Norris and Kenny Rickett. Norris made nine appearances and recorded 19 strikeouts in 17 innings pitched, while Rickett made 10 appearances on the mound and struckout 40 batters in 32 innings pitched.

The Hawks opened up their season on February 27 with a doubleheader at Virginia’s Paul D. Camp Community College and dropped both games by final scores of 8-4 and 7-6.

In a home game against Montgomery College on March 6, the Hawks fell 26-4 and are currently 0-3 in their 2019 campaign.

“We haven’t looked the way we should in our first couple games, but the more we fine-tune certain things the better we will be,” Logue said. “It just comes with practice and time. This team works hard enough to reach our overall goal which is playoffs.”

The team will travel to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina for spring break and are scheduled to play five games down south at the Ripken Tournament from March 18 to 20.

“Number one, I hope that they learn something about the game, that they are better ballplayers, better men, competitors for coming through the program. I want them to have a good time, but I also want them to understand that this is something that’s not rec ball, this is competitive,” Michael said. “If they do all the things that we are teaching them to do and they show up and prepare themselves the way that they’re supposed to prepare, then they’ll win some games, and that’s having fun. A lot of it’s going to be predicated on how dedicated they are to doing well this year, and if they do their jobs, they’re going to enjoy themselves.”

Twitter: @johnniswander2

Twitter: @johnniswander2