After placing fourth in the Orange Empire Conference (OEC) last year, the Fullerton Hornets baseball team is ready to get back into the swing of things for 2015.
Not the result they were looking for when they finished with a conference record of 11-10 after coming out on top in 2013.
The team will be managed by head coach Nick Fuscardo who will be entering his 29th season as the head coach of Fullerton and looking to add on to his already historic resumé.
One of the roster’s weaknesses last year was its lack of quality pitching as they were dead last in the OEC in earned run average with 4.26.
“In order to win, you always have to have good pitching,” head coach Nick Fuscardo said. “You have to command your pitches, get ahead in the count and you got tobe able to make pitches at the right
The Hornets brought in Mike Karpel as a pitching coach in order to improve the arms on the team. Karpel was the head coach and athletic director at Barstow College but before that, he was a former Hornet baseball player from 1991 through 1992.
“My expectations are to develop a staff,” Fuscardo said. “You look down in your bullpen and look on your bench and ask who can help us? You win with strength in numbers so you try and develop the entire staff.”
Despite the pitching troubles from last year, Fullerton does have some strengths to build upon.
“We’re a very fundamental baseball club,” he said. “We expect our kids to bunt, make the routine play, run the bases right and we expect our kids to be on time and to get mentally prepared to play in the toughest conference in America.”
Fuscardo also lauded the infielders for their talent and quickness as well as the outfield. The team successfully recruited some outfielders to maintain the quality of their outfield.
Fuscardo claims the team is defensive-oriented but the bats should come alive this season.
“We’ve got some veteran kids coming back and we will hit as we normally do but I think we’ll have some power and we’ll generate some deep balls,” Fuscardo said.
That will be no easy task as the Hornets will look to replace multiple players who signed to play at various four-year colleges, including outfielder Dakota Wix who will move on to become a Cal State Fullerton Titan after a historic career as a Hornet where he ranks in the top five of multiple hitting categories.
Despite those losses, Fuscardo praised the current club, emphasizing that many of the players in 2015 are more than capable of shouldering the load to achieve wins.
The Hornets will look to get back to their winning ways this spring after an unsatisfactory finish in the 2014 season.
“Our first goal is that we want to win a conference title,” Fuscardo said. “We did that a couple years ago and it was very rewarding for us. It’s really rewarding for me to look on our bench and I see guys that I can call on to come off the bench and I think that’s part of being a championship team.”