By MARK LINDSLEY
(TEANECK) – With only one win in 14 conference games, the Knights’ season is almost guaranteed to end on May 20, when they play their last regular season game against LIU Brooklyn.
But losing is the last thing on the minds of the players.
“I just feel like this team really has a special bond,” said graduate student and pitcher Joe Flack. “It’s something that I wish I could continue to be a part of, but unfortunately that ends in a few weeks, and I’m just trying to make the most out of it right now.”
Another veteran has his eyes on the team’s future.
“Out of the four years, this has been one of the teams with the best chemistry so far, even with all of the losses,” said senior outfielder Jason Fatzinger. “I think that says something for our character as a team. I’m just trying to mold the freshmen and sophomores the way I was when I was a freshman and sophomore.”
Both players are looking toward their own future as well. Fatzinger is looking for a career in finance, while Flack isn’t ready to let go of baseball.
“My whole life I’ve kind of just wanted to coach,” Flack said. “Obviously, as a little kid the dream was to play at the next level. Due to injuries and unforeseen circumstances it’s not gonna happen, so right now my biggest thing is to give back to the kids … I can’t picture my life without baseball, moving on, so hopefully coaching is something I can work in, in the near future.”
The challenge for Interim Head Coach Justin McKay right now is to keep his team focused on the present.
“We’re out here for wins and stuff like that, but I also have to develop these people, you know, as men,” McKay said. “I tell them, if they don’t quit these last four weeks for one second, this will be the season they always remember and this will be something that they always take with them.”
For McKay, there is more to the game than “W’s” and “L’s.”
“The chemistry has been awesome,” McKay said. “I hope this team, especially the core of it, they stay together. Close teams do special things and I couldn’t be happier or prouder of the way that they’ve treated each other.”
McKay previewed next year’s club for The Equinox.
“Our catalysts are junior Corey Zeller, the pitcher, and junior catcher Evan McDonald, so I expect them to have huge years next year,” McKay said. “In addition to Bobby Romano, who is our senior shortstop who tore his knee up this year, he’ll wind up redshirting and be back next year. So there’s three huge player right there that will be back.”
In addition to veterans Zeller, McDonald and Romano, McKay is looking for big years from some young players who have shown potential. Sophomore outfielder Mike Veit was a freshman All-American, who has played hurt all year. Shortstop Oliver Tavares was outstanding this year, starting the season as a third-string shortstop and ending up as an everyday starter at this key position.
“And he is hitting like .340,” McKay said. “He’s been tremendous; he’s been awesome.”
McKay says that next year’s team will be deeper, and better able to handle injuries if they occur.
“I think we have conference level pitchers, I think we have excellent middle-infield coming in, I think we have excellent catching,” McKay said. “Now we have the number two- ranked first baseman in New Jersey. Up and down it’s good.”