MIAMI — The Northeastern A&M baseball team will be going through growing pains during the 2019 season.
That’s because the Golden Norsemen have only three returning position players with game experience: shortstop Erosmo Mavarez, center field Colton Marian and catcher Tyler Silva.
Plus, there are only two sophomores on the mound — starter Tanner Bramlage and reliever Dakodah Jones.
“It’s going to take some time. There’s point to be some growing pains in there,” said Roger Ward, who is entering his 20th year at the helm of the Norsemen. “But it’s a pretty tight group of guys. They really get along well with each other; they compete hard with each other.
“We’re going to run into some days where we’re just not ready to compete at this level like a team with nine sophomores and two sophomores on the mound who are going to go on and play Division I baseball. We’re going to struggle with that.”
The Norsemen went 25-25 a year ago, 13-14 against conference opponents.
The season came to an end with back-to-back losses in the Region 2 Tournament.
NEO collected 22 hits in a 13-0 win over the Oklahoma Wesleyan JV at Bartlesville.
Bramlage, Jones and Olivier Larocque combined to strike out 21 of the 37 batters they faced.
Four players had three hits for the Norse: Marion, Mavarez, right fielder Kevin Equilin and third baseman Edouard.
“The thing I like about this group is they just took care of business,” Ward said. “That’s what we needed to do against that type of team.”
He figures it will just take time for the young team to get its bearings against tougher competition.
“We have depth everywhere right now; we fell good about it,” Ward said. “We just need guys to develop. We need guys to get 30 to 60 at-bats playing 15 to 20 games, then we can go back and evaluate what we need to do to continue to get better.”