There are a lot of familiar names in the lineup as the Husson University baseball team prepares for the northern portion of its schedule with the annual spring trip to Florida.
Husson is 8-5 and fourth-year head coach Jason Harvey said it has been a productive trip.
“We’ve been in some tight games and haven’t finished (opponents) off yet. We’ve been making some errors late in games,” said Harvey. “But playing in tight games early on will benefit us on the other end of our schedule. We’ll get comfortable playing in tight situations.”
He said the primary objectives of the spring trip involve finding roles for everybody, pitchers and position players.
But there aren’t a lot of spots without a veteran presence.
The left-right combination of senior Ryan Arsenault of Portland, who was 6-2 during the regular season with a 2.74 earned run average last year, and junior Nate Adams of Frankfort (5-3, 3.57) will give them a one-two punch at the top of the rotation.
They have each gone 12-5 over the past two seasons.
Senior righty Dan Beatham of Dexter is making the move from closer to starter. He and Westbrook lefty Mark Dvilinsky are the third and fourth starters with Brewer freshman Pat McEwen freshman in the five spot.
Bangor freshman Kyle Savage could be the sixth starter and Bangor’s Kyle Leeman (2-2, 5.28) was a starter last year but could become the closer this season.
Eastport senior Aaron Sullivan and junior Andrew Martel of Rehoboth, Mass., are also in the bullpen mix.
“Our pitchers got off to a slow start. They’ve struggled to throw strikes,” said Harvey. “But they continue to get better every day. We’re working on getting ahead of hitters in the count.”
He said he would “ideally like to have two long relievers, a setup man and a closer” to go with a six-man starting rotation since he has six North Eastern Athletic Conference games in a four-day span this spring.
The Eagles have veterans around the diamond.
Orland senior Chris Maguire (.333-1 homer-25 runs batted in) returns at first; Belfast sophomore Jake Arthers and Newport junior Cody Haverly-Johndro (.385-0-15) are the second basemen; NEAC Player of the Year Ethan Guerette of Sabattus (.366, 26 RBIs, 23 stolen bases) will return at shortstop and Arthers and freshman Josh Gaudette of Waterville are the third basemen. Bangor freshman Cody McInnis will see some time at shortstop.
The outfield returns intact with Bangor junior Kyle Vanidestine (.283-0-15), the league rookie of the year two years ago, in left field; Bangor junior Tom Crews (.312-3-30) is in center and Winterport sophomore Shawn Smith plays right.
“The outfield has made some big plays for us. They’ve taken away some hits,” said Harvey.
Junior Kevin Rennick and freshman Nik Ververis will share the catching.
Gaudette and Oakland freshman Dylan Foster will see duty as the designated hitter.
Foster is quick and will be the leadoff hitter when he’s in the lineup.
Gaudette, according to Harvey, has “been a huge plus in our lineup.
“He doesn’t hit like a freshman. He hits like a junior or senior. He’s had a very good trip so far,” said Harvey.
Guerette, Maguire and Smith have also hit well on the trip.
“We’ve hit for more power than I thought we would,” said Harvey.
Guerette will hit second in the lineup followed by Smith, Maguire, Gaudette, Arthers, Crews, Rennick or Ververis and Vanidestine.
Husson was 23-21 a year ago after going 33-14 the previous year.