Courtesy of Suffolk Athletics

Strength in numbers produces wins

April 20, 2016

All first base player Greg Speliotis cares about is defending their 2015 championship title. And he is out to do so with his team–playing and winning games with the goal of capturing the 2016 Greater Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Championship.

He believes the baseball team’s winning record has turned some heads.

“Our talent and depth speaks for itself,” said Speliotis in an interview with The Suffolk Journal.

The baseball team leads the GNAC in number– overall wins, GNAC wins, GNAC tournament wins and games, GNAC championships, and National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) appearances.

“I’m honored to play for a program as successful as the Suffolk baseball team,” said Speliotis.

With 10 games left in the season, and a 22-7 record after Monday’s 8-7 loss at Babson College, Speliotis, the 21-year-old sophomore says his team hopes to defend their GNAC championship title last season. They also want to compete at a higher level in the NCAA after getting eliminated two games into the regional tournament last May.

“[The] season has been going good through the first half, but obviously for us the goal is to continue to improve throughout the remainder and make sure we are playing our best baseball come May and in the conference tournament,” said two-year Head Baseball Coach Anthony Del Prete in an interview with the Journal.

Del Prete thinks the team has been playing well in all areas of the game from pitching, batting, showing efficiency on the mound, playing good offense and defense, and using the overall athleticism of the team to produce runs. He wants the team to take advantage of the “little things,” to continue winning games, and to help the group stay focused moving forward.

“I think last year’s success has helped keep the team motivated heading into the season,” said Del Prete. “After a five-year drought, it gave the group a taste of winning.”

“I’m happy that the work and effort the team has put in throughout the fall and winter has translated to early success, but it is all about how you finish, not how you start,” said Del Prete.

Besides playing well in all areas of the game, Del Prete attributes the team’s success and winning record to the 32-player roster.

“[It] makes it a lot easier on players knowing that not everything has to go through one individual,” said Del Prete. “It has been a team effort and a different guy every day helping us win games.”

Speliotis, an Entrepreneurship major, has stepped up in “some pretty big situations” and has contributed to the depth of the team whether he is starting or getting a crucial pitch hit off of the bench. He thinks the team has excelled in every aspect of the game.

“I believe that we’ve hit, pitched, and fielded well enough to consider ourselves as one of the best teams in New England,” said Speliotis.

Even though Speliotis thinks the program’s work ethic has been “pretty persistent” the three years he has been with the team, they can work on improving their sense of urgency to gain more confidence heading into the next game and to stay hungry regardless of the opponent they face.

Del Prete, who has served as an assistant coach at Suffolk for 10 seasons, feels fortunate to inherit the 69-year program from Cary McConnell, former head baseball coach and since 2015 the university’s director of athletics, to continue upholding “the longstanding consistency and tradition of success.” He thinks the team understands the commitment and expectations the program looks for in student-athletes.

Del Prete, who is also the university’s associate director of athletics, thinks the program has evolved over the years as the university has grown.The university’s location and academic reputation gives Del Prete and the program a competitive advantage in recruiting players. When he played for the university, most of his teammates were from the Greater Boston area and commuted from local New England areas. Now the program has players from nine different states.

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