The Cavaliers finished non-conference play with a 6-12 record, but the team’s many freshmen gained valuable experience that should be beneficial in Mountain East Conference play.
The extremely young UVa-Wise Cavalier baseball team has gone through some expected early growing pains, but they have also shown some bright spots as they head into MEC play.
The Cavaliers opened the season by winning 3 of their first four games of the season, winning a series over St. Augustine’s University in Cary, North Carolina on February 4 and 5. The Cavaliers then showed some of their youth and inexperience by losing their next 4 games, three against Carson Newman University on February 10 and 11 and one against Southern Wesleyan University on February 17.
Head Coach Hank Banner’s team got back in the win column on February 18, taking the first game of a doubleheader against Southern Wesleyan.
The Cavs spent their Spring Break in Orlando, Florida where they took part in the RussMatt Spring Break Invitational, where they won 1 of 5 games between February 26-March 2.
The Cavs took 1 of 3 against Virginia State University in a series played on March 4 and 5. Sophomore C David Thomas has shined early on for the Cavs, leading the team with 13 RBIs, and Thomas is one of 5 Cavaliers who have hit a home run this season.
Junior IF Stuart Paz leads the Cavaliers in batting average, as he is hitting .400 through the first 18 games of the season. Thomas, Paz, and freshman utility man Jordan Turner are the only Cavaliers to appear in all 18 games this season.
On the mound, Alex Dobry has stood out as he has a sparkling 2.08 ERA, in addition to 2 saves. While the win-loss record might not be what the Cavs hoped for through their first 18 games, Thomas feels that the experience earned early on was important for the team.
“For a team that is primarily freshmen and sophomores, we have learned a lot throughout the season and learned that it’s a continuous growing process. But at the same time, we have shown a lot of promising defensive ability and are maturing as an offensive group,” Thomas said.
As the team moves in to MEC play, Thomas says that the Cavs are planning to focus on “executing the small parts of baseball to help put our team in a position to win.”
UVa-Wise will play next against Wheeling Jesuit University on March 25 at 1 p.m and 3:30 p.m in Wheeling, W.Va.