Captain’s Corner

Michael Diakunczak, Reporter

Parker Abate, junior baseball outfielder, is heading into the 2018 season with a lot of momentum.

Abate started his university baseball campaign in 2016 when he appeared in 39 games, starting in nine of them, and recording stats including a .320 batting average, two doubles, a triple, seven RBIs and 14 runs scored on the season. Showing off as a freshman in the 2016 season was just the beginning for Abate. During his 2017 season, the sophomore slump was not a phase he encountered. At the end of season, Abate started 38 games in the outfield, where he also hit a .310 batting average and recorded two doubles, 18 RBIs and 26 runs scored on the season. Abate had his breakout performance on April 10, 2017 when he went three for four at the plate with four runs scored and a RBI in a victory against rival Wilkes University.

Abate is part of a program that has always had high standards. The Cougars claimed MAC Freedom regular season titles in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2016, and won MAC Freedom championships in each of the last seven seasons.  In 2012, the baseball team reached as high as the #10 spot in the country. In addition, only five teams in the country amassed more than the Cougars’ 39 wins that season. Abate knows that he has a lot to sacrifice to be a part of the program, but he has had a lot of positive experiences on his journey.

“Being a college athlete is far from easy. Your days are jam-packed with classes, workouts, practices, homework, studying and much more. In this program, my teammates and myself are very dedicated to putting the necessary work in so that we can succeed, but also remain aware of the sacrifices that come with that,” Abate said.

But he added that his experience has been “absolutely phenomenal.”

“I have made lifelong friends, learned so many lessons that will help me later in life and become a stronger man because of the adversity I have faced and overcome,” he said.

The Cougars finished the 2017 season with an overall record of 30-14 and went 16-5 in conference play. The Cougars added another MAC Freedom Championship banner by routing both King’s College and DeSales College, defeating them in a combination of 16 runs to none. Despite the conference championship, the season was cut short for the Cougars as they lost both NCAA D-III Championship games to Washington & Jefferson and Wooster College.

Abate and the rest of the Cougars have been working hard in the offseason to finish what they started.

Abate added, “The offseason is extremely important for us. We work very hard to get bigger, faster and stronger in order to be in shape come the season. We have a great deal of confidence that our lifting program and practices since late January will only contribute in a positive manner to our upcoming season.”

With the season right around the corner, Abate and the rest of the team have goals they expect to accomplish: They are shooting to win the regular season conference title as well as the MAC conference tournament.

“We as a team believe we have the talent to take the next step as a program and win a regional tournament as well.”

Abate said while his college career is half over, he is not slowing down any time soon.

“I want to make the most out of final two years in college and not only win another couple conference championships, but compete for a regional championship and College World Series,” Abate said.

The season begins Feb. 24 when the Cougars will compete on the road in both Virginia and Florida for the first few weeks. Catch Abate and the rest of the Cougars March 19 at Tambur Field for the home opener against Delaware Valley.