Team Experiences Mass Exodus
After a highly successful 2009 season, Concordia’s baseball team learned it would go into the 2010 season without many of its veterans when training began earlier this month at Trudeau Park in Cote St. Luc.
“At the end of the season it looked promising that we were going to have a lot of personnel in place, with some replacements for the graduates who would have filled the roles,” said coach Howard Schwartz. “But we lost a few players due to academic ineligibility—which I wasn’t expecting—and other players chose to attend other schools in Quebec.”
With the exposure garnered from being national champion players across the country expressed their interest in joining the team during the summer.
“Based on [the fact] that we won the championship, I received many more calls from players in the off-season this year who inquired about coming to Concordia to play,” said Schwartz, who has been at the helm since the baseball program started in 1995.
Among the players leaving due to graduation are outfielders Andrew D’ Iorio and Taylor Lamothe, pitcher Jonathan Romaniuk, and catchers Daniel Bromberg and Maxime St. Laurent. Pitcher Julian Tucker also graduated, but is waiting for a response from the university as to whether or not he can enroll for another year to improve his GPA.
“Going into training camp this year, I was very concerned when I saw the number of players departing,” said Schwartz. “But we’ve been able to fill a lot of holes through a little bit of recruiting.”
Even with the departures, coming off of a championship season led coach Schwartz to notice that his team has grown in confidence.
“The guys have proven they are the best and now it just seems they’re more relaxed,” said Schwartz. “So my goal and my challenge will be to make them as hungry as they were last year.”
Similar to Tucker’s situation, Schwartz was hoping to add 29-year-old Nat Thomas, who played for Concordia as an undergrad. Thomas had plans to begin a Masters of Business Administration, which would make him eligible for the team.
“He’s not as overpowering as Tucker, but he’s nasty and is having a good second half to the season in his semi-pro league right now,” said Schwartz of Thomas.
Unfortunately the plan to get him on the roster fell through, so Thomas will resume his role as pitching coach.
Among the additions, Schwartz is anticipating the arrival of former University of Oklahoma pitcher Mehdi Djebbar. Djebbar, a 22-year-old native of Montreal, was drafted to Major League Baseball’s Milwaukee Brewers in the 20th round in 2006.
This article originally appeared in The Link Volume 31, Issue 02, published August 24, 2010.