Competition, execution, and preparation: Emerson’s baseball team ready to take strides


Emerson’s baseball team went 10-23 in 2022. (Courtesy: Anna Schoenmann)

By Leo Kagan, Assistant Sports Editor

The Emerson baseball team dropped its last two games on April 30, 2022, swept in a doubleheader against MIT. But by late April, the Lions were out of the playoff picture; the games didn’t matter. 

This year, however, the team believes things can be different. 

“Any other year, I would have not said that [playoffs were a possibility],” said Head Coach Nick Vennochi. “We still have to prove that it is. The conference is tough, but we feel like we have a good club and we can sneak in.”

Senior catcher and co-captain Matt Nachamie believes that postseason is the goal, but he also identified a more concrete objective. 

“We want to win 16 games this year,” he said. “That’s a baseline of where we think we should be. We just want to be winning a lot more than we have in previous years.”

If the Lions achieve their 16-win goal, they would smash through last year’s 10-win mark. In fact, it would be the winningest season in Emerson baseball history—the next closest would be the team’s 15-win 2010 season. 

For Vennochi, the line between competing and winning is razor-thin.

“We were competitive last year consistently, and now it’s [about] finishing it and winning some of those games,” he said. “We have been a losing team every year for a long time. It’s because we haven’t consistently executed situationally.”

Senior infielder and co-captain Jake Hatch considers team focus among the Lions’ highest priorities.

“It’s just one of those things where, when things are going wrong, I think we start to get down on ourselves or try to do too much,” he said. “It’s just getting back to what works—it’s simple stuff in baseball.”

But whether the solution to the Lions’ losing ways lies in “clutch” performances, or simply a more focused squad, team leadership agrees that the club is in a better position to succeed this year than last. Nachamie highlighted the team’s offseason work as critical to its potential success. 

“We’ve had a big focus on making sure people are working throughout the offseason so when the season comes up, we’re already in stride,” he said. “We just finished up week two and the team’s already in opening day form.”

Namachie credits the Lions’ readiness to the group chats the team share, where players send pitching clips and self-taped hitting videos to one another. 

“Offseason communication is crucial to in-season success,” he said. “Our team had constant communication throughout the entire offseason and that was super important because now we come back and we feel like a team, a family, like one unit.”

With offseason preparations in the rearview mirror, Hatch said that the team is ready to start playing games and making on-the-fly adjustments. 

“We’ve already done the work,” he said. “Obviously there’s stuff in-season you can still do to get better, but during the season, it’s more minor changes. You’re not going to overhaul your swing, or make a huge change. You’re just going with what happens and reacting to it.”

Offseason gains, in-season goals, and mental preparation are all positives for this group—but it all amounts to very little when the first pitch is thrown. Hatch emphasized the team will be taking things one game at a time. 

“Once the season starts, I’m sure we’ll have conversations about [playoffs],” he said. “But I think it’s one of those things when you’re in the season, you just gotta prepare for the next game.”

If all goes according to plan, however, Vennochi believes the Lions can qualify for the postseason, even in a competitive conference. 

“We want to go and take games from our side of the conference,” he said. “Our ceiling is definitely that fifth seed. If we’re hot, we have the right pitcher, we can find a way to sneak in.”

The Lions will get the chance to prove their postseason worthiness at 3 p.m. on Feb. 28, when they face off against Lasell University at the New England Baseball Complex in Northborough.