DOVER, Del. – For the 11th time in 12 years, the Wesley College baseball team appears in a conference tournament with the sixth seed in the first-ever Atlantic East Conference Championship Tournament.
As the sixth seed, Wesley will travel to Radnor, Pa. to compete in Pod A of the Atlantic East Conference Championship Tournament, starting on Friday. Wesley opens with the double-elimination pod with host and top-seeded Cabrini at 9 a.m. before taking on the fourth-seeded Immaculata Mighty Macs at 12:30 p.m.
"We have a very young group and the coaching staff talked all year about working to improve each day to work towards our first goal of making the conference tournament," said head coach Bret Underwood. "We found a way to pick up wins in the last couple of conference games to qualify for the tournament. Now that we reached our first goal, it's time to make some noise in the tournament and make a run."
Wesley found their groove during the final month of the season in all facets of the game. As a team, Wesley hit .332 with 70 runs scored, 57 RBIs and 25 extra-base hits in April. On the mound, Wesley lowered their earned-run average to 5.75 for the final nine games of the season after registering a 12.60 ERA for the first 20 games of the season.
"The pitching has definitely improved throughout the year, we are making plays defensively and are now getting timely hits so that we have a chance to win. Doing the little things and the fundamentals in practice have helped this young group mature as the year went along."
The team has been led offensively all year by senior William Foster. Foster leads the Atlantic East in on-base percentage, reaching base at a .517 clip. He is tied for the conference lead in doubles (13), ranks second in batting average (.424), fourth in slugging percentage (.596) and 10th in hits (42).
Musser leads the team with three home runs and 26 runs scored. Musser also ranks second on the team in doubles with eight. Marucci, Boc and John Joines are all hitting over .300 while Weber and Cory Joines have provided consistent play at the top and bottom of the order.
The pitching staff has been led by sophomore Kevin Schmitt and freshmen David Whitlock and Dustin Sutton during the final regular season stretch. Schmitt pitched his best game of the season in the doubleheader against Marywood on April 27. Schmitt struck out six while only giving up one earned run in a complete-game effort against the Pacers. Whitlock has an ERA of 0.71 in five appearances during the month of April. Sutton has appeared in both center field and on the rubber for Wesley during the final month of the season.
"Cabrini did a great job during the season to secure the one seed and we played Immaculata in two really good games on the road a couple of weeks ago. We just have to play well. If we execute the tactics that we have worked on day-to-day in practice, then we have a chance to win. It starts with getting a quality start on the mound, making plays defensively behind the pitcher and scoring runs when they are in position. It would mean a lot to this group to get a couple wins together and advance to the championship. It is a testament to the work ethic and character of each and every one of our players to knock off some teams and see that hard work pay off."