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Titans entering 2013 with depth, experience

POSTED June 05, 2013
BY John Nestor
Twitter: @nestorjdn


Titans entering 2013 with depth, experience
TORRINGTON - The Torrington Titans open the 2013 Futures Collegiate Baseball League season at home Wednesday night with a roster that appears to be loaded with depth and sprinkled with some FCBL experience.
The Titans face the Wachusett Dirt Dawgs at Fuessenich Park at 7:05pm to open the season and will start the season by playing three of their first four games at home.
There will be a few familiar faces that Titans fans will recognize as former Torrington Red Raider Pat Austin is back on the pitching staff along with outfielder Mike Odenwaelder (Wamogo), infielder Kyle Decker (Simsbury and Trinity College) and pitcher Rhett Jones (South Georgia College).
The Titans veterans have welcomed a roster that is a good mix of New England and national talent that comes from Division I schools as well as smaller colleges. A look at the roster shows players from Pepperdine, UConn, Kansas, Maryland, Florida State and Elon as well as Wheaton, UMass Boston and Amherst.
It doesn't matter where you come from though, it matters that you can play, adjust to the grind of a game nearly every day and find a way to contribute to a team that has designs on a championship.
"I told the guys last season, our best players was a guy I never heard of from a Division III school that should have been the league MVP," Titans coach Misha Dworkin said. 
Two of last season's best pitchers (Alec Palioca and Tyler Dierke) were also from D-III schools so the talent can come from anywhere and this season the Titans have a pitching staff that boasts a lot of it.
Hunter Engelhart, a junior from SC Beufort, will get the opening night start and heads a rotation that includes Austin (UMass Boston), Mike Gibbons (Wheaton), Jefry Castro (Fisher) and Nick Fuller (UMass Dartmouth).
"I'm excited and ready to go. I feel great and my arm feels great," Engelhart said. "I like what we have here and I want to win. I love winning and that's what we are after."
The Titans won a bunch last year and made the playoffs thanks in part to Palioca and Dierke, who were one of the best one-two combinations of starters in the FCBL. It remains to be seen if this year's staff has those kind of aces, but they do have quality arms.
"I saw Hunter's bullpen and after about two pitches, I had seen enough and knew he was the guy," Titans pitching coach Bobby Chatfield said. "We have a lot of guys who are talented and versatile. I think as a staff, we are deeper than we were last season and that will allow us to do some different things."
Offensively the early estimation is that the lineup is deeper as well. Conor Bierfedlt and Ryan Plourde were about the Titans' only power options last season and both have moved on so the Titans are starting from scratch offensively but have shown potential in workouts so far.
"Last year we had really just two guys who provided any power," Dworkin said. "I think we'll have a deeper lineup than we did last season."
Some of the depth comes from having experience. Chatfield said he's already noticed the difference in Austin, who joined the Titans during the season last year and took what he learned to UMass Boston and had a strong year. Austin also feels his Titans experience last summer will be a boost the second time around.
"Seeing how things work by being here last year and coming off a strong college season definitely gives me confidence starting this summer," Austin said. "I think the difference is mostly mental. I'm ready to work and get better and take it from there."
Odenwaelder also benefitted from his time in Torrington last season as brief as it was (just seven games). He's back for the entire summer after a standout freshman season at Amherst where he hit .369 with 19 RBI and two home runs with 30 runs scored.
"It's good to be back, just looking to get better and win a bunch of games like we did last year," Odenwaelder said. "I think being here last season helped me a lot heading to college and I'm looking forward to playing against some of the best players in the country again this summer."

Titans entering 2013 with depth, experience 



TORRINGTON - The Torrington Titans open the 2013 Futures Collegiate Baseball League season at home Wednesday night with a roster that appears to be loaded with depth and sprinkled with some FCBL experience. 


The Titans face the Wachusett Dirt Dawgs at Fuessenich Park at 7:05pm to open the season and will start the season by playing three of their first four games at home. 

 

There will be a few familiar faces that Titans fans will recognize as former Torrington Red Raider Pat Austin is back on the pitching staff along with outfielder Mike Odenwaelder (Wamogo), infielder Kyle Decker (Simsbury and Trinity College) and pitcher Rhett Jones (South Georgia College).


The Titans veterans have welcomed a roster that is a good mix of New England and national talent that comes from Division I schools as well as smaller colleges. A look at the roster shows players from Pepperdine, UConn, Kansas, Maryland, Florida State and Elon as well as Wheaton, UMass Boston and Amherst.


It doesn't matter where you come from though, it matters that you can play, adjust to the grind of a game nearly every day and find a way to contribute to a team that has designs on a championship.


"I told the guys last season, our best players was a guy I never heard of from a Division III school that should have been the league MVP," Titans coach Misha Dworkin said. 


Two of last season's best pitchers (Alec Palioca and Tyler Dierke) were also from D-III schools so the talent can come from anywhere and this season the Titans have a pitching staff that boasts a lot of it.


Hunter Engelhart, a junior from SC Beufort, will get the opening night start and heads a rotation that includes Austin (UMass Boston), Mike Gibbons (Wheaton), Jefry Castro (Fisher) and Nick Fuller (UMass Dartmouth).



"I'm excited and ready to go. I feel great and my arm feels great," Engelhart said. "I like what we have here and I want to win. I love winning and that's what we are after."


The Titans won a bunch last year and made the playoffs thanks in part to Palioca and Dierke, who were one of the best one-two combinations of starters in the FCBL. It remains to be seen if this year's staff has those kind of aces, but they do have quality arms.


"I saw Hunter's bullpen and after about two pitches, I had seen enough and knew he was the guy," Titans pitching coach Bobby Chatfield said. "We have a lot of guys who are talented and versatile. I think as a staff, we are deeper than we were last season and that will allow us to do some different things."

 

Offensively the early estimation is that the lineup is deeper as well. Conor Bierfeldt and Ryan Plourde were about the Titans' only power options last season and both have moved on so the Titans are starting from scratch offensively but have shown potential in workouts so far.


"Last year we had really just two guys who provided any power," Dworkin said. "I think we'll have a deeper lineup than we did last season."


Some of the depth comes from having experience. Chatfield said he's already noticed the difference in Austin, who joined the Titans during the season last year and took what he learned to UMass Boston and had a strong year. Austin also feels his Titans experience last summer will be a boost the second time around.


"Seeing how things work by being here last year and coming off a strong college season definitely gives me confidence starting this summer," Austin said. "I think the difference is mostly mental. I'm ready to work and get better and take it from there."


Odenwaelder also benefited from his time in Torrington last season as brief as it was (just seven games). He's back for the entire summer after a standout freshman season at Amherst where he hit .369 with 19 RBI and two home runs with 30 runs scored.


"It's good to be back, just looking to get better and win a bunch of games like we did last year," Odenwaelder said. "I think being here last season helped me a lot heading to college and I'm looking forward to playing against some of the best players in the country again this summer."

 

 

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