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Baseball team ready to start new season with Florida trip

WATERVILLE, Maine -- With new head coach Jesse Woods, the Colby College baseball team will open the season Saturday in Florida under a totally different coaching staff.

Woods, a University of Notre Dame assistant coach the past eight years, and the Mules meet local rival Thomas College in Auburndale, Fla., Saturday at 2 p.m. Colby plays 10 games on its spring break trip and then has a home opener against St. Joseph's College at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, April 2.
 
Woods will have assistant coach Tad Skelley and pitching coach Chris Tilton in the dugout with him this season.
 
"I am really excited to get the season started," Woods said. "This group has worked so hard and has developed so much. Now it's time to compete against someone wearing a different jersey. We are playing a challenging schedule to start the year and we are looking forward to that challenge."
 
The Mules are going with all seven seniors as captains this year. Matt Mitchell (Wayzata, Minn.), Jackson Ward (pictured, Wilton, Conn.), Tyler Mulberry (Middletown, Conn.), Brooks Parker (Weston, Mass.), Keenan Iuliano (Waltham, Mass.), Will Cohen (Wellesley, Mass.), and Andrew Sterup (Billings, Mont.) will lead Colby.
 
"It has been a great preseason. We have come together and improved a lot in a short amount of time," Woods said. "The strength of this group is in the leadership and our senior class of captains have selflessly led us so well to this part in the season. They embody what it means to be a Colby baseball Mule and are great ambassadors of our team culture."  
 
Mitchell, Ward, and Mulberry will all play in the infield. Ward, who also worked as the closer and has six saves the past two years, had six doubles a year ago. Mulberry was tied for the team lead in walks with eight and was a .304 hitter two years ago. Mitchell saw most of his action at third base.
 
Sterup saw time as the team's designated hitter, while Parker and Cohen both pitched about 24 innings last season. 
 
Sophomore infielder Tommy McGee (Bowie, Md.) batted .326 in 43 at-bats. Will Phillips (East Media, Pa.), a junior outfielder, batted .317, had 11 RBI, and a .373 on-base percentage. Sophomore infielder Andrew Russell (Massapequa, N.Y.) had a solid first season with a .300 batting average, six doubles, 12 RBI, and shared the team lead with eight walks.
 
Junior William Wessman (Dallas, Texas) hit .284, had six doubles, and was second on the team in RBI with 17. He played first base, third base, and was a designated hitter for the Mules (7-25 last year). 
 
Chris Romano (Yarmouth, Maine) hit .333 in limited at-bats last year and plays in the infield. First-years Dylan Nastri (Avon, Conn.) and Quinn Burke (Woodbridge, Conn.) also will play in the infield. 
 
Sophomores Ryan Hecht (Wauwatosa, Wis.), Jonah Katz (Point Lookout, N.Y.), and first-year Patrick Forelli (Carlisle, Mass.) can play at catcher. 
 
The Mules lost much of its outfield, including All-NESCAC player Matt Treveloni, to graduation. Phillips, though, played all three outfield spots during the season. 
 
Drew, who also saw time in the outfield last year, hit .385 a year ago in limited at-bats. Iuliano saw plenty of time in right field last year and hit two home runs. First-years Mark Sunoo (Old Greenwich, Conn.), Ryan Nakajima (Edgewater, N.J.), and Adam Zucatti (Wrightstown, N.J.) will vie for time in the outfield.
 
Junior right-hander Alexander Wieder (Bronxville, N.Y.) worked 16 innings last year, had a 2.81 earned run average, and the opponent hit just .197 against him. Meanwhile, sophomore right-hander Frank Driscoll (Philadelphia, Pa.) worked 29 innings, led the team with 37 strikeouts, and the opponent hit .231.
 
Sophomore lefty Paul Ariola (Malverne, N.Y.) threw 30.2 innings and right-handed thrower Patrick Carbone (Marshfield, Mass.) led the team with 14 appearances. 
 
Junior lefty Emery Dinsmore (Waldo, Maine) tossed 22.0 innings a year ago and junior Taimu Ito (Tenafly, N.J.) worked 12.1 innings after posting a 2.84 earned run average as a first-year. Junior Matt Reasor (Clarksville, Tenn.) and Cameron Garfield (Wellesley, Mass.) also return on the mound. 
 
First-year Cabot Maher (Barrington, R.I.), who will also be used as a designated hitter, and classmates John Doyle (Topsfield, Mass.) and Charlie Jodka (North Andover, Mass.) will pitch.