Buffalo, NY – After a disappointing 2017 season, the D'Youville baseball team is back with an expanded roster in 2018 and their eyes on taking strides to the postseason.
D'Youville has 10 upperclassmen and 14 underclassmen, providing a fairly even balance of youth and experience. However, a majority of the team's offense comes from their senior captains Travis Macrides (Manlius, NY/Fayetteville-Manlius) at first base and center fielder Justin Brackna (Cheektowaga, NY/Maryvale).
The two tied for the team lead in batting average (.356) and were tied for second in hits (37), finishing top two in several batting categories. Macrides had a led the Spartans in RBI (18) and tied for the team lead in home runs (2). He was also second in stolen bases (3) and runs (15), finishing fourth in walks (8). As for Brackna, he was first in doubles (8) and runs (18), second in RBI (12), and tied for first in triples (2). The pair will be expected to produce in the heart of the Spartan's lineup.
Leadoff hitter and junior Dylan Haak (Depew, NY/Depew) is one of the best in the league and an on base machine for the Spartans. He finished first in hits (39), tied for second in doubles (5), third in batting average (.355) and runs (14), and fourth in RBI (10). He was an outstanding defensive left fielder as well with a team high 10 outfield assists. Haak also registered 15.0 innings pitched and 10 strikeouts.
Catching duo Patrick Mulligan (Buffalo, NY/Hutch Tech) and Matt Critelli (Camden, NY/Camden) provided plenty of power for the offense and were strong defensively behind the plate. Mulligan (.259) and Critelli (.258) finished fourth and fifth in batting average, while the sophomore Mulligan was tied for first in home runs (2) and the junior Critelli was third (1). Mulligan also finished third in RBI (12). The two will continue to split time behind the plate and will help work with a young pitching staff.
As for the pitching staff, junior Will Pack (Pendleton, NY/Starpoint) had a phenomenal year in 2017. Pack set the single season win record for the Spartans with four. He led the team in innings pitched (41.2) and was second in strikeouts (19). With a young pitching staff this season, Pack is expected to be the ace of the rotation.
Second year pitchers Tyler Siegmann (Wheatfield, NY/Niagara-Wheatfield) and Braden Bova (Lancaster, NY/Saint Mary's) will look for bigger roles this season after promising performances last season. Senior Steve Vik (Hopkins, SC/Lower Richland) will conclude his career with D'Youville this season and will look to be a reliable arm. All three will get starting opportunities and provide relief out of the bullpen.
Junior Josh Hammer (Amherst, NY/Sweet Home) is versatile at second base and right field and has provided a solid bat to the lineup. He finished tied fifth in RBI (8) and registered 13 hits. Khaled Numan-Ali (Cheektowaga, NY/Cheektowaga) has one of the best gloves on the team and can play all three outfield positions, making him a valuable asset.
Several players will fight for playing time, but had highlights from their first seasons with the Spartans. Mitchell Mason (Eden, NY/Eden) saw time at third and second before his season ended with injury. Senior Devon Kelly (Rochester, NY/Olympia) missed the second half of the season after playing at second base during the first half. Brendan Burke (Collegeville, PA/Spring-Ford) also shared time at third, performing well with a strong bat and active glove at the hot corner. All three will get their chance to carve out playing time and contribute to the time.
Senior right fielder and pitcher Nicholas Ivanoff (Scranton, PA/Scranton) began his career with D'Youville in 2015 before transferring away for the last two seasons and has returned to the team this season. Ivanoff will be one of the top arms in the Spartan's rotation with his bat and fielding ability expected to be big for the team.
Pitcher and first baseman Nick Jank (Orchard Park, NY/Canisius) missed all of 2017 due to injury and is another player that will be expected to have an impact this season. Meanwhile the middle of the infield will get more depth with Matt Guenther (Cheektowaga, NY/Maryvale) returning. Freshman Justin Varney (Henrietta, NY/Rush-Henrietta) will take over as the starting shortstop with his effective glove and bat.
Pitchers Andrew Holcomb (Elma, NY/Iroquois), Bryce Little (Arcade, NY/Pioneer), and transfer Adam Lampman (West Seneca, NY/West Seneca East) help bolster a rotation and bullpen. Freshmen Logan Lipowski (Williamsville, NY/Williamsville East), Renato Quinones (Amherst, NY/St. Joe's), and Kevin Sanders (Buffalo, NY/City Honors) will all help add depth and versatility to the roster.
D'Youville opened their season with a non-conference game against the Pitt.-Bradford Panthers on March 3, but will get the rest of their schedule under way on Saturday, March 10 as they play a doubleheader at Juniata, starting at 12:00pm.