May 23, 2012

Captains' Corner is a bi-weekly update from a captain or leader of one of the RedHawks' 19 teams that runs every other Thursday throughout the academic year. Today's update is from senior baseball player, Matt Rosinski, a University Heights, Ohio native who just graduated with a degree in accounting.

The 2012 Miami Baseball team begins playoff baseball as the No. 7 seed in this week's MAC Conference Tournament, taking on the Toledo Rockets in Avon, Ohio today.

We enter the tournament playing our best baseball of the year, taking two of our final three weekend series, including a sweep of Akron and a win at Ohio. After coming out on top in several must-win games over the past four weeks, the RedHawks feel prepared for the playoffs. It was a fight to get into the tournament, but now that we are in, we are fully anticipating taking home the trophy on Saturday. The tournament consists of two 4-team pools, each producing a winner by means of a double elimination format. They face each other in a one-game MAC championship game on Saturday. We are grouped with Toledo, Central Michigan, and Eastern Michigan in our pool.

All year, we have used last season as motivation. Losing in the conference championship has fueled our workouts throughout the fall, winter, and spring. Our team combines a lot of key players from 2011 campaign who experienced the playoff run, with a talented freshman class which has stepped up all year. Captains' phrases of playing with "Attitude and Passion" and "Playing For Each Other" have stuck all year. Our determination and team camaraderie is what our team firmly believes sets us apart.

We have been knocked for not hitting for any power at the plate, but our offense has found a way to put up runs all year. Our leading RBI guy, first baseman Kevin Bower has been driving in the country's top freshman hitter Matt Honchel (.401) and speedster Ryan Brenner all season long. Bryce Redeker and Nate Bowles provide some pop in the middle of the order. First-year starters shortstop Scott Slappey, third-baseman Dan Walsh and catcher Max Andresen have all looked extremely comfortable at the plate towards the end of the season and look to be of huge impact throughout the tournament.

Shawn Marquardt, who will start our opening tournament game, has been huge all year, including a series' clinching win earlier this year versus Toledo. All-MAC first-teamer Mac Thoreson has bounced back from a slow start to the season, returning to last season's form over the past month or two. He will face either Central Michigan or Eastern Michigan in Game 2, both of whom he has beaten in his career. The bullpen has been strong all year, led by Nathan Williams, who has a 2.20 ERA. And I will be ready to close out any game needed. (Note: Rosinski is the tournament saves leader with nine).

27 players and the coaching staff are making the four-and-half hour bus ride to the west suburbs of Cleveland. We travel an extremely close-knit family that will do anything to bring home the title trophy. We are tested, determined, and ready. We look forward to taking the field this weekend wearing the Miami M, playing with incredible passion and energy.

We hope to see many alumni and fans in the seats. We have appreciated your support all year.

Go RedHawks. Love and Honor.