BANGOR – There are plenty of new faces on the Husson College baseball team, including interim head coach Jason Harvey, who is filling in for the recuperating John Winkin.
But Harvey likes what he has seen as the Eagles prepare for their spring trip to Florida.
“We’re young but talented,” said the 24-year-old Harvey.
“With youth you get excitement, fresh legs and fresh personalities,” said all-purpose pitcher Sam Adolphsen of Union, one of just four seniors on this year’s team. “There’s a lot of talent [in the freshman class]. They’re just going to have to adjust to the college level.”
Husson will have a relatively inexperienced pitching staff as seniors Andrew Patterson of Brewer and Keith Nason of Glenburn and junior Chris Pease of Hampden are the only pitchers with more than 22 innings of experience.
Patterson was 3-1 last year with a 4.40 earned run average, Nason was 1-2 with a 6.84 ERA and Pease was 0-4, 7.54.
“Nobody is overpowering so we’ve got to throw strikes and get ground-ball outs,” said Patterson.
Harvey considers Nason and Patterson his top two starters with Portland freshman Ryan Arsenault in the three spot. Pease and newcomer Kyle Leeman of Bangor will complete the rotation.
Adolphsen (2-2, 5.96) will be used as a reliever but he can also start. Joining him in the bullpen will be sophomore Dennis Graham, sophomores Chris Morris of Hampden and Corey Cushing of Brewer, and freshmen Aaron Sullivan of Eastport, Brooks Candage of Portland and Ryan Walker of Hollis.
“It’s going to be closer by committee,” said Harvey.
Offensively, the Eagles’ biggest asset will be their team speed.
“We’ll have speed, one through nine, in the lineup. And we have some very good contact hitters,” said Harvey.
“Everyone will have to contribute,” said junior third baseman Nick Arthers, Husson’s leading home run hitter last year with three. “We’ll steal a lot of bases, bunt and hit-and-run.”
“We’ll be like a National League team,” said Adolphsen.
Arthers drove in 18 runs a year ago but feels he has to do more this season.
“I want to contribute more. I need to drive in more runs,” said Arthers.
Brewer junior right fielder Jeff Miller (.350, 1 homer, 14 runs batted in) will supply speed and production out of the leadoff spot.
Freshman center fielder Tom Crews of Bangor, who led Bangor High to the Eastern Maine Class A title last year, is another speedster in the No. 2 spot.
Patterson, a first baseman when not pitching, hit .315 a year ago with a homer and 17 RBIs and Harvey will also look for offense from catcher Brian McGinley (.306-0-7) as well as Arthers, who hit .203.
Hampden junior Billy Shannon and Bucksport freshman Chris Maguire will battle for the shortstop job with Cushing and Sabattus freshman Ethan Guerette vying for the second base job.
Presque Isle freshman Logan York will start in left.
“Our defense should be solid, especially our outfield. Our outfielders are really fast,” said Adolphsen.
Graham and Arsenault are the prime candidates for the DH job.
Backing up McGinley will be Dexter freshman Dan Beatham, Belfast sophomore Paul Herman and Candage.
Morris will back up Arthers at third, Graham can play first, and others in the outfield picture include senior Bryan Biggers (.313-0-15), sophomore T.J. Frail, Arsenault and Sullivan.
Husson, 14-22 a year ago, 9-7 in the North Atlantic Conference, has a pretty good schedule, according to Harvey.
The young coach has been well-received by his players.
“He has been running us a lot but that’s good because it fits in with our style of play,” said Adolphsen.
“[Harvey] has done real well. He has stepped into the job and run with it,” said Arthers.
Husson opens Sunday at 11 a.m. against Augustana College (Ill.) in Florida.