Baseball team’s depth strong point heading into tough conference schedule

Winning is what measures a sports team.

Good pitching will beat good hitting the majority of the time and the Oswego State baseball team is hoping that proves to be the case for its success heading into SUNYAC play.

The Lakers starting rotation is led by senior Marc Peterson, transfer student Mark Schaper, junior Brady Farkas and sophomores Dan Erne and Jon Stevens.

"[I have a] Ton of confidence in the five starters," head coach Frank Paino said. "Pitching is going in the right direction."

The Lakers also have two pitchers that could step into any role that Paino gives them- senior Dustin Lefave and sophomore Chris Nyman.

Lefave and Nyman could be called in to start down the road if the Lakers are looking for another arm to add to the rotation or even fill the long-relief or closing role in the later part of the season.

"They’re both blue-collar guys," Paino said. "They’re our go-to-guys in any role."

Schaper, a transfer student from Orange Community College, is the only one of the five pitchers that lacks SUNYAC experience, but that shouldn’t be a problem for the Lakers. In two starts this season for the Lakers, Schaper has tossed close to 14 innings of work allowing 12 hits, seven runs (three of them earned) walking two batters and striking out seven.

If injuries were to plague the Lakers rotation Paino feels that anyone of his pitchers could step into the role and succeed at anytime in the season.

Behind the plate and around the diamond the Lakers have a strong field of depth; a strength once SUNYAC play begins.

"Everyone wants to play," Paino said.

Juniors Andrew Lazzaro and Dan Maloney and freshmen Bob Gage and Kris Prikazsky will be battling for time behind the plate. Lazzaro’s experience and familiarity with the pitchers will be key for the Lakers, but, given doubleheaders, could wind up playing another position.

The infield has a lot of depth, especially at first base. Lazzaro, sophomore Matt Miller, junior Dave Mazzullo and freshman Tom Curry will all be working hard for playing time at first base.

Senior Rafael Cordero, sophomore Mike Stark and freshman Pat Brown look for playing time at second base, a position the Lakers feel has a special trait to their roster.

"It’s like Napa Auto Parts," Paino said. "Ton of parts, just have to tighten them down."

Cordero, Stark and Brown also could find playing time at other positions on the field if the time is presented to them during the season.

Freshman Tyler Baker, Cordero and Stark will also be seeing time at the shortstop position for the Lakers, while third base will be a battle between sophomores Mike Tarnowski and Nick Elsenbeck a transfer from Onondaga Community College.

"We’ll be playing the hot guy," Paino said.

Sophomore Ed Charles will serve as the team’s left fielder this season.

He does well out there," Paino said. "Rely on him."

Freshman Scott Buniak will be covering the majority of the field in center.

"He’s a real skilled kid," Paino said.

Right field will be led by Mazzullo and junior Steve Roman, who could also see time in left field if called on.

The Lakers have a strong nucleus that will have different players called on depending on how they perform offensively as well.

"You have to have depth," Paino said. "You have to keep grinding it out. Might not be in the lineup today, but tomorrow you might be. You might not start a game, but might finish it."

On top of the strong pitching, the Lakers have and a strong bench that should make a 40-game schedule easier, even in SUNYAC.