CAMDEN, May 21, 2011 – It was Senior Day for the Saint Joseph’s Hawks baseball team. Senior Day is special as it is the last time that the class will wear a Saint Joseph’s uniform. The day will have memories for the players. Their best memory will be a win, and that is what the Hawks will have as they beat Richmond 10 – 4 at Campbell Field. But this was more than just a game for seniors, especially Left Fielder Mike Coleman.
“It was bittersweet, and without a doubt the best years of my life,” Coleman said. “It’s the type of thing I’ve lived for, and a day I knew would come, something that I didn’t want to see. But now that I am here, I am happy for the career, the friendships we’ve made, the lessons we’ve learned, and the people we’ve become.”
“I think the worst part was last night (before the game). I couldn’t sleep. I didn’t know how I was going to react, but once I got between the lines, it was the same game.”
For other seniors like Joe Cook, the last collegiate game he played was a microcosm of the game of baseball. In the 6th and 7th inning Cook was charged with errors that helped Richmond get runs to tie the game at 4. In the bottom of the seventh Cook drew a walk and scored the Hawks’ sixth run on a single to right by Sophomore Second Baseman Quinn Renner. Cook saw the each end of the baseball spectrum in his final appearance.
“It was pretty emotional,” said Cook. “I struggled focusing on the game as much as I wanted to. It’s the story of my career. I had to keep battling and battling. That’s baseball. You get knocked down, and better get back up. It was good that in my last at bat to get a walk and score. It was good to do that and contribute to the win.”
Senior Pitcher Bryan Penalo got his first win of the season in relief. He was followed to the mound by fellow Senior Domininc Favazza who pitched a scoreless 8th inning. Senior starter Chad Simendinger pitched in the previous game.
Senior Designated Hitter Mike Plakis drove in 2 runs and walked three times.
It was Senior Day, but the big contributor was Sophomore Catcher Eddie Palmer who was 3 for 5 with 3 Runs Batted In. In the 7th Palmer singled to center scoring Junior Center Fielder Brett Tiagwad giving the lead back to the Hawks at 5 – 4.
“We were able to keep our confidence, work through a tough situation, and come out on top,” said Palmer.
In the 8th Palmer drove in Sophomore First Baseman Kevin Taylor and Sophomore Infielder Anthony Cirillo on a single to center to give Saint Joseph’s their final margin of victory.
“You know you have to get the job done,” Palmer said. “I was able to get a pitch I liked and sent it up the middle.”
Saint Joseph’s finished the season with a 21 – 31 record, and were 11 – 13 in the Atlantic 10. This was the second consecutive season in which the Hawks had more than 10 league victories.
For the present group of seniors, their journey is complete. However players like Mike Coleman see a bright future for the young Saint Joseph’s baseball program.
“This program is going in the right direction,” said Coleman. “When I came here five years ago, it was a completely different program. Everything about it has gotten better. From the pre-game preparation, the in-game management, and post-game, everything is better. The commitment to the game is better. I think you are going to see better recruits come here. As years go by, you’ll see a better level of play.”
Written By: Glenn Papazian