The St. Thomas Aquinas College Baseball team hosted its Annual Preseason Dinner at the beautiful Crowne Plaza Hotel in Suffern, NY. The evening was a tremendous success, drawing well over 200 guests, including alumni, college administrators, parents, families and friends of the program.
The Spartans began the evening with a special keynote address by former Major League Baseball player (Pittsburgh Pirates) and pitching coach (Pittsburgh Pirates, Cleveland Indians, Chicago White Sox, Toronto Blue Jays, Oakland Athletics, New York Mets, Milwaukee Brewers, Baltimore Orioles), Rick Peterson. Peterson spoke to those in attendance about the skills and tools necessary to have the mindset of a champion, and how you can apply those tools to a career in sports or just everyday life.
St. Thomas Aquinas Baseball alum, Nicholas Barbalato was then honored by the team for his contributions to the program with the 2018 Alumni Achievement Award. Barbalato, a team captain and member of the 200-hit club, finished his career with a .300 batting average, and was a part of the Spartans' ECC Regular Season and Tournament Championships and NCAA East Regional Appearance as a player in 2013, before helping the team win a conference and regional title, and a subsequent trip to the NCAA Division II World Series as a coach in 2014.
Head Coach Scott Muscat introduced the 2018 squad, which includes several returning members of the NCAA Division II East Region Team that advanced to the NCAA Baseball Finals last season, along with many new faces.
The Spartans are coming off of a 44-17 season and are the reigning, defending ECC Regular Season and NCAA Division II East Region Champions. The team also finished third overall at the Division II Baseball Finals in Grand Prairie, Texas.
St. Thomas Aquinas will play its season opener in Dinwiddie, Virginia against the Indiana University of Pennsylvania Crimson Hawks this Friday, February 23rd.