The RIT baseball team was picked to win the Empire 8 conference title this season.
Regardless of the sport, a slow start makes it nearly impossible to fully recover your season. The Tigers had a very slow start this season, opening with a 3-12 record. This will test any team’s character but so will your head coach when you have this type of start to your season. There was a lot of running going on after the slow start according to Coach Grow. I believe he said to me in passing that he is going to find out who truly wants to play after this weekend’s practices! As a former athlete I fully understand what that means and it does not involve anything pleasant. Nevertheless, the team did respond with a nice turnaround to their season. The Tigers finished the season with a 16-8 record, almost bringing things back to the .500 mark.
The 2009 Tigers baseball team underachieved; however, there were some individual bright spots to the season. Nine Tiger baseball players were named to the 2009 All-Empire 8 postseason team. Senior Jeremy Tosh and junior Geoff Dornes were named to the first team. Tosh broke RIT Hall of Famer Jeff Hall’s 1980 record of RBI with 41 for a single season. He also was the first Tiger to eclipse 100 RBI in a career as he reached 103 in only three seasons. Tosh was a pitcher his rookie season which makes this accomplishment even more impressive. Tosh is a three time first team selection. He was also selected to the All-New York Region team for the second time.
Dornes was the Empire 8 Player of the Year in 2007 and 2008. He had a .366 batting average and led the team with 49 hits, 33 runs scored, 9 doubles, 4 triples and went 12 for 12 stealing bases. Dornes is also a pitcher who went 4-4 with a 3.10 ERA, allowing just 11 walks in 58 innings. His first team selection as a hitter is coupled with an honorable mention selection as a pitcher. He is just 3 hits away from the RIT all-time hits record and will likely set numerous records in his senior campaign.
Sophomores Justin Smith and Dave Kernan were named to the second team along with freshman Ben Robertson. Smith broke the single season stolen base record with 23 on 24 attempts. He batted .333 with 31 runs scored, 21 RBI and four triples. Kernan had 4 home runs and 22 RBI and was the DH selection to the all-conference team. Robertson led the team with a .479 batting average, with 35 hits, which was the second best single- season batting average in RIT history.
Juniors Josh Rodems, Ed Hughes, and Cory Langtry were honorable mention selections. Senior first baseman Matt Austin was RIT’s representative as the Empire 8 Sportsperson of the Year.
The 2010 RIT baseball team is poised to improve on the 2009 season with some strong veteran players returning, namely Dornes who will most likely end his career as the most prolific offensive player in the history of RIT baseball. Combine Dornes with seniors Rodems, Hughes, and Langtry as well as juniors Smith and Kernan, and sophomore Robertson; I believe 2010 will actually be the season the Tigers win the Empire 8 conference.