Cabrini again figures to challenge for the Atlantic East Conference title

Cabrini looks to battle for dominance again in 2020
The Cabrini baseball program pieced together an outstanding 31-win season last year in just its third year of existence. The club also marched to a first-place finish in the Atlantic East Conference with an 11-1 mark before falling to local rival Gwynedd Mercy in the conference championship series.

Were the Cavaliers frustrated? Certainly. Is the club using the title loss as motivation for 2020? You bet.

"We had our eyes set on winning the conference championship," said head coach Nick Weisheipl, who has managed the program since its inception in 2016. "We just ran out of gas and ran into a well-coached and veteran Gwynedd Mercy squad - coach Paul Murphy always does a fine job over there."

The good news for Cabrini is the club returns a pair of All-Conference First-Team honorees in senior right-hander Kyran Weemaels and junior center fielder Mack McKisson.

McKisson hit .368 last season and posted a 1.017 OPS while starting all 42 games. He led the AEC with 63 hits and 33 walks while collecting 94 total bases, the second-most in the conference. He's arguably the best pure hitter in all of college baseball in the Philadelphia region, plus he's outstanding with the glove in center with plus-range.

"As good as his numbers were last year, he actually started out slow," Weisheipl said. "You're just not going to find a better center fielder in the area, and I'm talking from D-I down to D-III."

As for Weemaels, he'll look to build off a solid campaign where he posted a 4.07 ERA to go along with a 1.37 WHIP over 48 2/3 innings. He also was dominant in conference play, making four starts while pitching to a 1.78 ERA while limiting opponents to a .237 batting average.

Along with Weemaels, the Cavs return senior righty Andrew Corso to the rotation. The Lancaster native was named All-Conference Second Team while posting a 3.33 ERA and a 1.31 WHIP while tossing a team-high 50 2/3 innings. Sophomore right-hander Jonathan Baker (3-1, 4.78, 32 IP) appears to have the inside track with the final rotation slot, but transfer addition Alex Pierznik, a right-hander out of Camden County College, may also see action as a starter.



One of the Cavs greatest strengths last year - aside from on the mound and at the plate - was their execution in the field, finishing with a league-leading .961 fielding percentage.

"It's really a hallmark, it's what Cabrini is all about," Weisheipl said. "Our outfield play is outstanding and we make really good decisions. With [assistant coach] Rod Johnson out there working with our infield defense, the expectation is at a high level. In three years, we've led the league each time in double plays turned. It's really something we sink our claws into with instruction because it's only going to help us - our pitchers know if they get a ground ball we're going to turn two.

"We hammer the details because that's what is going to get us to where we want to be."

It's remarkable to think about what Weisheipl and Co. have done in three seasons, from building a program from scratch to falling a win shy of clinching the AEC conference title. This year they figure to again contend for a title shot.

"We've got a really veteran group," Weisheipl said. "They've been through the trenches since we've begun and have paid their dues; shepherds to the younger guys to show them how we do things here. We couldn't be happier with this group of guys."
__________________________________
Follow Patrick on Twitter: @PGordonPBR

BY PATRICK GORDON
Managing Editor
pgordon@philadelphiabaseballreview.com

No comments: