RIC Baseball Headed in Right Direction

by Kristen DiChiaro


The 2002 Rhode Island College baseball team has a lot in store this season with a mix of many talented new players and some of last year’s top players. Coming off a difficult season, the Anchormen have almost an entirely new roster and Head Coach Jay Grenier feels the team is on the road to success.

"We’re headed in the right direction. We took a big stride in our recruiting this year and got a lot of good recruits," says Grenier. "We have a bunch of talented young kids. They’re young, but they’ll learn from their mistakes."

Of the 24 players on the roster this season, 16 of them are new to the team. "We made a big jump from last season," says Grenier. "We’re more of a team this season. We have a full roster so there’s more depth at each position." Last season the Anchormen were plagued by injuries and saw their roster dwindle down as the season went on.

The team finished up the 2001 season with a 6-22 overall record and a 2-12 (eighth place) mark in the Little East Conference. It was Grenier’s first year as head coach after leaving CCRI where he was the head baseball coach for eight years.

The majority of standout players from last year’s team will be returning this year and Coach Grenier looks for them to anchor the young team. "We have good leadership this season," says Grenier. Seniors Russ Barron (right field), Sean McNamara (catcher) and Dave Quaglia (catcher/first baseman) will guide the young players throughout the season.

Sophomores Mike Melucci (second base/shortstop) and Jeff Steere (pitcher) and juniors Eric Gibree (first base) and Dan Furtado (pitcher) are expected to be the team’s top players. Gibree, who started off well last year, had his season’s cut short with a knee injury last spring. Melucci led the team last year with a .291 average, 21 runs, and 30 hits. Russ Barron was second with a .277 average and also second in hits with 28.

Righties Steere and Furtado were two of the team’s top pitchers. Steere led the Anchormen with 38 strikeouts and 56.2 innings pitched. Furtado was second with 34 strikeouts on the year.

Grenier doesn’t expect the team to start off the season perfectly but knows they will work hard. "We’re in a tough conference so we’re probably outmatched right now, but every player is committed to doing what they have to do to improve," says Grenier.

The team will get their first test when they travel to Florida at the start of the season. "We’re just hoping to go out there and play hard. It will be our first time playing together this year so we’re just hoping to play well."

RIC opens the 2002 campaign against Albertus Magnus at the Homestead Challenge (FL) on Mar. 10.



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