Coming off a PSAC Championship holds high expectations, and the Seton Hill baseball team has the firepower to back it up this offseason. The team was able to snag the championship last year, being the ultimate underdog in the tournament and eventually beating Mercyhurst University in a 20-6 route. They were able to qualify for the North Atlantic Regional NCAA tournament through that PSAC tournament win, but did not advance out of the first round, losing to Winston-Salem College of North Carolina.
To compete in the NCAA tournament for a national championship is within reach for the Griffin squad and they are gearing up for a run in the spring this offseason. The “Warrior Challenge” was coined by Coach Marc Marizzaldi about seven years ago to bring the team together in physical and mental competition, as well as gauge what physical preparation the team partook in over the summer.
“Our players compete in nine different events over three days, with the top nine overall finishers being tabbed our ‘All-Warrior Team.’ It has evolved into a weeklong competition that our players really embrace, and an event that sets an outstanding tone for the fall and new year,” said Marizzaldi.
This is quite the atmosphere for the young guns to get thrown into, but Marizzaldi said that the competition “baptizes them into our culture and gives them a gauge on how to prepare in order to compete at a championship level, mentally and physically.” The offseason is a time for the players to perfect their craft before they enter their actual competition schedule. It is a non-pressure environment full of team bonding and learning more about the game and that is shown in the Warrior Challenge.
If you happen to look down at the athletic facilities down below the field house, you may notice a beautiful new turf field in construction that has replaced the worn out carpet that was used by just about every sport. The old turf field had an entire football field, lacrosse field, soccer field and baseball diamond that was used year-round, receiving quite the “wear and tear.” The new field is specifically tailored to the baseball team with a new permanent fence that lines the outfield and new patterned diamond.
“Our field was 12 years old and well past its safe usability. We eliminated the dirt around all of the bases making it full turf now and eliminated the temporary outfield fence that we had to put up and down, making it a permanent fence,” said Marizzaldi.
There will also be 26 new chair back seats behind the backstop to improve the viewer experience. All of the players have contributed to the construction of the field, whether it is the new fencing, bullpen or the new mound, which is the only dirt that will be on the field. This has served for another great bonding experience for the men as they are crafting the stadium in which they will play for many years to come.
The project has had a few different end dates including mid-August, but the newest completion date will be the second week in September. Then, the Griffins will be able to fully use the facility for playing, working out and recruiting. This field will see the talent of a nationally recognized team that will compete for another PSAC championship and an NCAA championship.