Mack McKisson leads Cabrini
Mack McKisson is one of the best hitters in D3. | Photo: Cabrini Athletics
The Cabrini Cavaliers pieced together a strong season last year with a 16-11 mark and a trip to the Atlantic East Semifinals. This year the program returns several top talents, including seniors Mack McKisson and Gil Peralta. 

"We have tons of experience up and down the lineup with some real offensive prowess there, especially in the middle of the order," said Cabrini head coach Nick Weisheipl 

Expectations are high for Weisheipl and Co. The club enters the season as favorites to win the Atlantic East Conference, taking the top seed in the annual preseason coaches poll. The Cavs also know things could have gone differently in the postseason a year ago if Covid didn't impact multiple guys on the roster just as the Atlantic East tournament was unfolding in Washington, D.C. 

"It was tough to see how it ended, knowing we were working at a disadvantage out of our control," Weisheipl said. "It's easy to coach some of these guys at this point. You just put their name on the lineup card and get out of the way." 

McKisson hit .500 last season to go along with three homers and 38 RBI's while being named Atlantic East Conference Co-Player of the Year. He's been one of the top hitters in the region since he burst on the local scene in 2018. He enters the 2022 season with a career .402 average and the real possibility of finishing his college career with an average greater than .400. 

"He's as polished of a college baseball player that you're going to find," Weisheipl said. "That's at any level, too. It's just great to be a fan of guys like him at this point. 

"What helps him too is that he has insulation within the lineup because you can't pitch around him." 
Peralta is another stud in the middle of the Cavs order. He hit nine dingers last year en route to All-Atlantic East Conference honors. Steven Priest is another key returner. The Paulsboro native collected 43 RBI's last season to go with six homers and a .416 average. 

"It's a daunting task to get through our lineup," Weisheipl said. "There's nothing easy about it."

Mike Valerio and Jonathan Baker will anchor the starting rotation. Valerio tossed two complete games last year and finished 3-1 with a 4.76 ERA. He also collected 33 strikeouts over 34 innings. Baker was an All-Atlantic East honoree and posted a 6-2 record with a 5.13 ERA. His four complete games ranked 20th in NCAA Div. III. 

"Baker is a tried and true competitor," Weisheipl said. "He finds ways to win and shows up in the big games, which is what you need from your number one. Then we have Valerio, and he pitched outstanding for us last season down the stretch. It's a solid top of the rotation, for sure." 

To go along with an already talented returning roster, Weisheipl added a transfer All-Atlantic East outfielder in Dustin Sutton (Wesley) and sophomore two-way guy Pat Toal (La Salle). Sophomore outfielder Zach Brook is another newcomer that could contribute early. 

"I think we could see some real big things from these three guys," Weisheipl said. "All three may be in the mix and play a pretty big role." 

The Cavs split their opening weekend series with Messiah, then split their second series this past weekend with Catholic. The club is back in action on Feb. 28th with a doubleheader against Eastern opening an eight-game spring break trip in Myrtle Beach, S.C. 

"The fuel for these guys is that we've been right there in the postseason, we've been so close," Weisheipl said. "These guys aren't excited about a preseason prediction, they know what they have to do and they know we have the resources and firepower to do it."

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