Baseball and softball players adjust training mentality for indoor practices

Seton Hill University’s baseball team gathers in a group before the start of a home game last season. Because of the winter weather, SHU’s baseball and softball teams have to adjust their practice routines in Sullivan Gym instead of outside on their fields. Photo by D.Clark/Setonian.

The weather in Western Pennsylvania is anything but predictable in the late winter and early spring months. Seton Hill University’s spring sports teams have to deal with the changing climate and precipitation in ways that the outsider may not understand.

The baseball and softball teams have such a specific playing field that their routine is altered in the indoor setting. Of course, it is a similar experience for lacrosse and track and field. However, a space like a baseball or softball diamond cannot be replicated indoors. SHU’s teams are making due and preparing for their PSAC endeavors.

The baseball team is led by head coach Marc Marizzaldi and is coming off a hot season, winning the PSAC title over Mercyhurst University in 2017. They are no stranger to Sullivan Gym, as Marizzaldi said, “Sullivan Gym has been our indoor home for 15 years.” Marizzaldi has found ways to keep busy during that time.

“Being inside has its daily challenges, but we find creative ways to focus on the fundamentals,” Marizzaldi said. “It keeps our guys humble and invokes an old-school mentality for our training.”

The mentality tends to change for all athletes competing in an outdoor sport when put indoors. Marizzaldi classified it as a “very intimidating environment” because of the limited space.

According to Marizzaldi, the area has less than ideal lighting and poor floor surface. The team uses it as a motivator, however, to tackle whatever obstacle they will face during the season.

The weight room is a second home for the baseball team, and the leadership on the team has them in there three times a week on top of the indoor practices. They also compete in Warrior Challenges throughout the year.

Marizzaldi said “as soon as the snow melts, we will be on the field as much as possible.” The blown down fence in left field will also be fixed, weather permitting, before the first home game on March 14 against Shepherd University.

Members of the Seton Hill softball team high five each other during one their games last season. Head coach Bill Monstrola said the main challenge the team faces when practicing indoors is overcoming their mentality. Photo by D.Clark/Setonian.

The SHU softball team, led by head coach Bill Monstrola, has a similar philosophy to the baseball team adapting to the conditions in the gym. Monstrola said “the floor is faster than the turf, so it improves the fielder’s reaction time,” and the pitchers get a lot of endurance practice in the batting cages.

“The only thing that we have to overcome in the gym is our mentality,” Monstrola said. “We aren’t able to be as aggressive as we can on the field.”

The team as a whole has depth at every position and Monstrola is excited about that. “The team chemistry is excellent and you would have a hard time telling the upperclassmen from the freshmen,” Monstrola said. They have aspirations to compete for a PSAC title, and Monstrola said, “I think we can do it.”

Published By: Stephen Dumnich

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