Queens College baseball season is underway and the team is looking to bounce back from a 15-27 record last season.
Led by a new coach, but a familiar face, QC alumnus Chris Reardon takes on the head coach position with new pitching coach Al Sontag.
“This is my first year as head coach. Over the last 15 years, we haven’t had a winning season or made playoffs. So, the goal is simple, we need to change the culture and build a winning program,” Reardon said.
The last time the Knights had winning record was in 1998.
Reardon brings a lot of experience from his previous coaching jobs. As head coach of Caldwell Cougars in New Jersey for eight seasons, he posted a 176-148 — .543 — record.
“All my experiences playing and coaching will help me. You live and you learn,” Reardon said.
Last season the Knights posted a team ERA of 4.96. This season they hope to lower that number. Reardon truly believes that the pitching staff is the team’s strongest dimension.
“Our strength is pitching. We have some experienced guys who have had some success and I feel with new pitching coach Al Sontag they will do even better,” Reardon said.
The Knights lack experience. Only nine players are returning from last season’s roster with the addition of five freshmen.
“We have a lot of new players, so it’s going to take time to adjust to the speed of the game,” Reardon said.
Chemistry between the team is also something that will have to build as time progresses, but time is something the Knights just haven’t had this season. Six of their first eight games were cancelled due to weather conditions. All these cancellations can make it hard for a team to stay focused, according to Reardon.
Reardon and his coaching staff spent a lot of time preparing in the offseason.
“Season is a grind, it’s tough but you prepare in the offseason. You do fun things to keep players loose, but once the season starts, it’s down to business,” Reardon said.
After three consecutive cancelations, the Knights got down to business and opened up the season with a 12-2 defeat to Franklin Pierce. Two cancelled games followed and the Knights then suffered their second loss to Caldwell, 3-1.
In order to win these close contested games, Reardon believes the team has to do the little things.
“We have had opportunities to win, we just have to execute better,” Reardon said.
The Knights strong pitching lead the way to four consecutive wins. Out of the four victories, the most impressive win was the 2-1 win over Concordia. The Knights picked up the win on a walk off wild pitch in the ninth inning.
They had a chance to win their fifth straight game, but with a 3-3 tie in the ninth against Mercy College, they allowed three unearned runs. With two outs in the inning the team made two costly errors that lead to a 6-3 final.
Although the last winning season for the Knights was 15 years ago, they have shown signs of being a strong contender. In order to win games, the team will follow the “practice makes perfect” motto.
“In order to believe this, you have to work extremely hard in practices,” Reardon said.
The Knights next home game is against Dominican on March 27.