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Arcadia Baseball Preview
Arcadia set a program record last season with 40 wins while securing a Middle Atlantic Conference Freedom Championship and a trip to the NCAA Division III Championship Tournament. 

Expectations are already high this season with the program ranked 11th in the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper Preseason Top 40 and 15th in the NCBWA Preseason Top 25. 

As if that attention isn't enough, Arcadia is also picked to finish first in the MAC Freedom Preseason Coaches' Poll.

"We're not talking much about the rankings, and we're not talking much about what we can't control," said Bryan Torresani, Arcadia's head coach now entering his seventh season at the helm. "We're trying to keep the focus on ourselves and go out and have fun. We have a good group of guys here who don't get phased much, so the polls don't really impact us." 

In addition to the preseason team accolades, the Knights have five players on the NCAA Division III Players to Watch in 2023 list, including shortstop Alex Madera, second baseman Justin Massielo, right-handed pitchers Hunter Sibley and Hunter Curley, and left-handed hurler Nick Fossile. 

Madera is a 2023 First Team Preseason All-American and returns following a monster year where he was named Middle Atlantic Conference Freedom Player of the Year. The Delran native hit .464 last year while setting single-season records for Arcadia with 83 hits and 38 stolen bases. He's also committed to playing next season as a graduate student at the University of North Carolina. 

"He's a difference maker, obviously," Torresani said. "He's an on-base machine at the top of the lineup and does well with the bat, but what people don't see if they don't watch us on a regular basis is just how good he is with the glove. His glove allows him to take runs off the board just as easily as he puts runs on the board while at the plate, he's just that good ... I mean, shoot, North Carolina doesn't sign stiffs." 

Massielo, a product of Pennsbury, was a First Team All-MAC Freedom honoree last year after hitting .383 with 42 runs scored and 46 RBIs. He's a career .352 hitter through 93 games over three seasons.

"Alex is our fiery type of leader, but Justin is our steady go-with-the-flow type leader," Torresani said. "He flexed a bit more power this fall and has improved each year. He understands how to hit in different situations ... he's just a winning type of baseball player." 

Fossile, Curley, and Sibley all return to keep the Knights' starting rotation intact. The trio combined to post a 3.73 ERA over 36 starts last year while collecting 158 strikeouts over 200 1/3 innings. 

"If you're going to get to where we want to get to, you need some horses on the mound that can hang with some of the best other horses across the country," Torresani said. "These guys can do that and will keep us in those close games that we need to win come playoff time." 

The Knights spent time earlier this year working out in the Dominican Republic while playing exhibition contests against makeshift teams that included a Major Leaguer, a handful of prospects from Double-A and Triple-A, and some other talent affiliated with various MLB clubs. 

"It was awesome," Torresani said. "It's a baseball-crazed country, and we were able to play against some solid players, plus it gave our guys a new perspective seeing how other folks live. I can't say enough good things about the trip, though I don't believe we saw a fastball below 90 mph the entire time," Torresani said with a laugh. 

Potential Impactful Newcomer 
Anthony Bruno | Outfielder | Sophomore 
A product of Hatboro-Horsham, Bruno is a specimen at 6-foot-4, 220-pounds. He's a right fielder and could slide into the starting spot to open the year. He hit .358 with four homers and 40 RBIs in 44 games last season for Mercer. 

Breakout Candidate 
Matt Donchez | Outfielder | Senior 
The Archbishop Wood graduate hit .276 last year over 35 games while chipping in with three homers and 11 RBIs. He dealt with a broken foot last year but has looked solid in camp and likely will open the season with the starting role in center field. 

The Knights open the season at home against Ursinus on Feb. 23. The schedule also includes an early-season stretch of 10 consecutive games against teams that played in the NCAA Tournament last year, including Ithaca, Penn State Harrisburg, Stevens, Denison, North Central, and Wooster. 

Arcadia opens the home portion of the MAC Freedom schedule on March 19 with a visit from Wilkes.
13 stars

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