Howard Schwartz has been Concordia’s baseball coach for 12 years. He is the only coach the program has ever known. You’d think he would have seen everything. But what he had to deal with this winter was something he had never seen. Try replacing three of your four assistant coaches and only have nine players returning from your 25-man roster.
Most of those nine players were players who didn’t see very much playing time a year ago.
“I hadn’t felt this much anxiety in a while,” he joked. “This is definitely the most unique year of the program.”
The team is in a rebuilding phase, due to 14 players leaving the team due to graduation or being academically ineligible. In the case of last year’s team rookie of the year, Alex Monfette, he will play a year in France. Andrew Nagy will take on a bigger role with the Stingers football team.
That leaves a lot of responsibility to the few returning players. Chris Dyer is the team’s ace and according to Schwartz, one of the team’s leaders.
“He is a very talented pitcher, but he will now be the model for the team and the younger players,” Schwartz said.
Schwartz is also looking for big performances from Marc Therrien and Ron Snell, who he said should have a little more presence this season from an offensive standpoint.
The coaching staff looks a little more like an alumni get together, with former Stingers Nat Thomas and Tony Di Mambro. The third member of the new-look staff is Ted Vavas who was an assistant coach with the Stingers for the first few years of the program.
Thomas, the team’s ace from a year ago is putting the new pitchers through “rigourous” fundamentals, according to Schwartz. He has experience and leadership that will rub off on the players.
Di Mambro was a player with the Stingers a few years ago, and according to Schwartz will serve as a bridge between him and the players.
Schwartz called Vavas back to the Stingers because, with so many new players, the team has to learn fundamentals. Schwartz said Vavas brings a professor approach to the game and Schwartz calls Vavas a “computer” when it comes to baseball mechanics.
As for the team, Schwartz is excited because the newcomers bring “a lot of raw talent” and winter and summer sessions were geared towards teaching.
“These kids understand the game,” Schwartz said. “And they are eager to learn. Watching this team compete will be just as rewarding than if I was watching a team full of all-stars because these kids have tons of potential,” he said.
“Usually, the regular season I’m gearing for first place. But with this lineup, we’re looking at the regular season to help get us ready for the playoffs,” Schwartz said.
The Stingers are still looking to fill out their roster. If you are interested, contact coach Howard Schwartz at (514) 944-2294 or go to the Athletics Complex across from the football field at Loyola Campus.
2006 Baseball Schedule
09/06 @ McGill
09/09 @ Carleton (2)
09/10 vs McGill (2)
09/17 @ Ottawa (2)
09/20 @ John Abbott
09/22 @ John Abbott
09/23 vs Carleton (2)
09/24 vs Ottawa (2)
09/27 @ McGill
10/01 vs John Abbott (2)
NOTES: Concordia and McGill both play their home games at Pierre Elliot Trudeau Park in Cote St-Luc.
(2): denotes a double header