This fall, the Marist Red Foxes have introduced their new Club Baseball Team, giving students who hope to continue their baseball careers a chance to keep playing the game they love.
“I created this team to give others another four years of playing baseball,” said club president and team captain Rob Schardt. He understands that students on campus may have chosen Marist for its academics instead of continuing to play a sport in college, just like he did. Schardt not only wants to keep his own playing career alive, but he wants to give others the very same opportunity.
Starting a brand new club team is not an easy undertaking. The process to form this team started a little over two years ago in 2016. Schardt has been working with the Student Government Association for the past two months to get approval, and his hard work is finally paying off. The team held tryouts over weekends from September to October, with the hope of having their first games later this fall. About 50 total athletes participated in tryouts.
The final roster is composed of a total of 22 players, who will play up to 12 conference games. The plan for the schedule is to have double-headers on Saturdays, followed by a single game on Sundays. These games will feature opponents such as Colgate University, SUNY Paltz, Adelphi University and the University of Rhode Island. Some games will be hosted right on campus at McCann Field, but if the field is not available to them, games will also be held at local parks and opponent schools. This new team will also travel quite a bit, going up to three hours away from Poughkeepsie.
Although this team is not as big of a commitment as the Division I program, it is nearly a full-time gig: team members will be consumed with this club up to four times a week. Practices will be held two to three times a week in preparation for games played on the weekend.
Another big component of any team is strong leadership. The Business Director of Athletes, Brandon James, will be the head coach of the team. Two of his associates who have both played and coached at different levels will accompany him on the bench this season. The three will lead the newest team on campus into their upcoming campaign in hopes of making a name for themselves.
“I hope to be competitive and win a decent amount of games to create a great foundation,” said Schardt. It is imperative for a new team to create a great baseline that can last and grow into the future.
“Obviously, the goal is always to win the championship, but it will be a tough task that I am looking forward to going after,” said Schardt.
The 22 students named to the first Marist Club Baseball team all just want a little more time with the sport they love and to compete and win. Nicholas Yee, a current sophomore who participated in tryouts, has played baseball for about 14 years and wants to add to that time. Yee feels an emptiness at Marist. “Not playing a sport at Marist made me feel like I was missing something,” said Yee. “It made me feel like I wasn’t truly a part of the school.”
The sophomore’s goal for the upcoming season, outside of making the roster, is to have fun, make some new friends, and, “to make a name for the team, since it will be the club’s first year.” He is welcoming the challenge, just like the club’s founder and captain. Yee added that after only a few days of tryouts, he believed this team can find success. The talent displayed at tryouts was very impressive, but it is imperative for this team to have strong chemistry and a good work ethic: keys for any successful program.
Many students will have the chance to continue their playing careers, have fun and make new friends on the field this year. Although they are in the early stages of the season, Marist’s newest club team appears to have a promising future.