Baseball looks to repeat as WAC champs

Juan Garcia

Reporter

 

After finishing second in the Western Athletic Conference the CSU Bakersfield baseball team prepares to start off its season.

“I thought we did really well last year,” said head coach Bob Macaluso. “We’re really focused on this year though.” Macaluso says he and the team are way past last year and are looking to focus on what is ahead of them.

Coach Macaluso is making his debut this year as head coach as the Roadrunners will play against CSU Northridge on Feb. 19 in Northridge. Macaluso was one of the assistant coaches for last years’ season. The baseball program said goodbye to six-year head coach Bill Kernen, who was WAC coach of the year in 2013 when he led them to win a record of 37 games in the regular season.

“They’re a tight group of with some of them knowing each other from high school,” said Macaluso.

Many of the athlete’s live and train together on a daily basis. Coach Macaluso believes that the teams unity will help them persevere and excel in the upcoming season.

The CSUB baseball team graduated 12 seniors, almost half of their full roster. The Roadrunners also have 12 new players added to the team.

“We did good with what we had,” said senior centerfielder and pitcher Chance Gusbeth.

Gusbeth is a 3-letter athlete and was selected as all conference by perfect game this preseason. He’s captain of the team and will be premiering in his fourth season.

“We had a lot of good leaders last year that are going to be missed this year,” said Gusbeth,

“We played real baseball last year” said Gusbeth. “We didn’t rely on one guy to do the job.”   The team is tackling the fundamental elements of the game that they feel they fell short in last year.

“Last year we didn’t have much of a bull pen,” said Gusbeth.

Bull pen is in reference to the relief pitchers that go in to relieve their starting pitcher.

CSUB junior infielder David Metzgar and junior infielder Joey Sanchez were named preseason All-Conference in a vote of the league’s 10 head coaches, who could not vote for their own team or players. Metzger was also named perfect WAC preseason game player of the year and is one of the teams captains. Last year the Roadrunners knocked out Ole Miss from the WAC tournament and won a regional game, the first time this has happened in school history.

“I feel like last season we really put this program on the map,” said redshirt senior AJ Monarrez. “(The) things we need to improve is not really much, just keep doing what were doing.”

Monarrez is a starting pitcher who won the first WAC tournament Championship game against Seattle University last year in May. He’s been a part of the CSUB baseball program for three years now.

“There is a lot of guys here that have playing with each other for years now,” said Monarrez. “I think were going to do well, because it’s like a brotherhood here.”