The Montclair State University men’s baseball team has had an amazing season thus far. At the time of writing this article, they are 23-9 and on a six-game winning streak. To give an even better idea of how well this season has gone for the Red Hawks, in six games they scored north of 20 runs against their opponent. If you know baseball, you know how rare even one game like that is.
When looking at the team stats, it’s easy to see how these results are occurring. Senior infielder Jason Moore is a perfect example. In 133 at-bats, Moore is hitting .316 with 38 RBI.
When asked about how well the team has been doing, specifically when it comes to the hitting, Moore cleared up how the team has been so effective.
“While putting up a lot of runs and blowing out some teams is certainly an attest to the talent on our team, I think that those games reflect more on the work we put into each game,” Moore said. “When we get a lead we don’t coast to the end of the game and wait for a team to try to make a comeback, we play every pitch with a 0-0 score attitude and don’t take anyone lightly.”
Despite all of the success Montclair State has had, there have been challenges just like every other team. Injuries have been a big issue throughout the season, taking away important pieces from a team looking to win it all. The head coach of the baseball team Dave Lorber spoke about just how tough these injuries have been.
“The most challenging aspect of the season has been our injuries,” Lorber said. “That for me is where this team has been hit the most, you know, and you can’t prepare for those. Unfortunately, we’ve had quite a few in major spots for us, and well, that’s hampered us to an extent. I give our guys a lot of credit because they have never given up. They have continued to press forward with the next-man-up mentality, and at the end of the day, no one feels sorry for you. You just got to find a way to win.”
With the regular season winding down, the next obstacle for this team to overcome is the playoffs. With Montclair State winning at least one game versus Rutgers-Camden on their senior day at Yogi Berra Stadium, the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) playoffs will start on Thursday, May 4, and their first opponent is none other than the William Paterson Pioneers. They’re currently 25-13 on the year.
When asked about what the team is looking to improve upon in the playoffs, sophomore pitcher Patrick Teehan said it has nothing to do with physicality.
“I’d say that things we are improving on are more on the mental side of things, really locking into every moment of the game, every pitch, every at-bat and playing with a purpose every chance we get,” Teehan said. “Being able to make that playoffs is a testament to the hard work that the guys have put forth and for us right now it’s just replicating that mentality every day.”
The hard work these players have put in is something that everyone usually mentions. They were adamant that without the hard work day in and day out, the Red Hawks wouldn’t be in the position they’re in now. In addition, coach Lorber gave his thoughts on what his team needs to do to be at their best in the NJAC playoff tournament.
”We’ve got to clean up our base running a little bit,” Lorber said. “We’ve got to clean up our defense at times, and then ultimately we’ve got to make sure that we can continue to get shutdown innings after we score.”
Lorber is certainly reliable when it comes to preparing for an NJAC tournament, so his words should give everyone a really good idea of where this team is at right now. In the NJAC, Lorber has a 28-10 overall record so it’s not his first time going through the tough sprint that is this conference. While anything can happen, the Red Hawks are in the best position they can be for success at the moment.
Playoff seeding still needs to be decided so it’s unknown if the Red Hawks will face William Paterson home or away or even Rutgers Camden, but wherever they are, they’re going to give it their all as they have all season long.