Preview: Hilbert Baseball

The Men’s Baseball team has kicked off their fall-ball season and have high hopes for their Spring season.

Senior first baseman Brandon Job said having a home field to play on has made practices more enjoyable and beneficial to all of their players.

“Having a home field this year has made fall-ball practices more beneficial, more enjoyable, as it’s been more convenient to walk from the classroom or your dorm room to get to the field, rather than driving off campus to practice.”

The team has been holding practices three days a week, where they focus on batting, fielding, pitching, base running, and bat speed work. 

Freshman pitcher Colin Windle said the team is definitely looking good during their practices and scrimmages.

“All of the hard work we have been putting in for the last three weeks during our practices has been paying off and I think we could have some serious potential this year.”

Saturday October 2nd, the men faced Hilbert’s Baseball alumni in a scrimmage on their new field.

“­­­­­­­­­­­­­It was great showing the new field that we got to the alumni and playing against teammates and past players we haven’t seen in a while. We missed our alumni game last year, so it’s a great kick- off to the fall and we have really high expectations going forward as we move through the season,” said Job.

When they’re not practicing, the baseball team has been working the concession stands at the Buffalo Bills games to help fundraise for their Myrtle Beach Tournament, which takes place during Spring Break.

 Freshman pitcher Brendan Walsh says he’s looking forward to the spring break trip and thinks the team will do really well. “I’m really excited for the spring break trip since we didn’t get to go last year, and my junior year of high school, I went down there and it was a lot of fun. In terms of how our team will do, I think we’ll do super well because of all the improvements we’ve made and the hard work we’ve put in at practice.”

The men are scheduled to face Erie Community College on Monday October 11 at 2pm at the ECC North Campus Baseball Field.

Women’s Softball Set to Kick Off Season

The women’s softball team is set to kick off their fall-ball season.

The team has been practicing every Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday and are will hold their first scrimmage this Saturday October 2.

Freshman pitcher Rebecca Marmorato said the hard work they’ve been putting in during practice is preparing the team for their upcoming season.

“The team has been working a couple days a week to strengthen our pitching, infield, and outfield, while also trying to improve our communication on the field,” Marmorato said.

The women hope to have a better season this spring than they had the previous year and are looking forward to playing on their new field.

As of right now, the team is looking strong and there are many players looking strong ahead of the upcoming season, Lily Zimmerman, a freshman third baseman said.

“The team is looking pretty solid so far and we have a lot of new players to contribute to our upcoming season.”

When the team is not practicing, they are continuing to work the Buffalo Bills games in hopes to fundraise for their annual Myrtle Beach Spring Break trip where they will participate in a tournament with several other Division 3 softball teams.

“Hopefully all of these hours we’ve been fundraising will pay off and we will be able to experience the Myrtle Beach trip that was canceled because of Covid-19 last season,” freshman outfielder Gabrielle Jansen said.

As the softball fall-ball season comes to an end, the Men’s Baseball team is preparing for theirs to begin.

“We’re ending our fall-ball season on October 2nd with a scrimmage against Niagara County Community College. It will be exciting to see how it all unfolds,” Marmorato said.

Hilbert Women’s Basketball Plays through Restricted Season

The Hilbert Hawks Women’s Basketball team won’t be playing a complete schedule of games this season due to the safety concerns around COVID-19.

Despite these challenges, the team is ready to get back out onto the court for their four scheduled scrimmages this year. The Hawks haven’t played in a competitive game in over a year, but will soon return.

When asked about the feelings about playing in a competitive game again, head coach Amy Senefelder said she had mixed emotions.

“I’m excited and nervous at the same time for our first game,” Senefelder said. “Usually we are done with our season at this time, but we are just starting our games in March. So I’m very excited at the opportunity to get some games in, but anxious because it has been over a year since we’ve played.”

The 2021 Hawks will go into this season as a very young team, having no seniors, four sophomores and four freshmen. This opportunity has created excitement for some of the team’s sophomores.

“I guess I’m just excited that we get the opportunity to play with each other, even if it won’t really be the same,” sophomore Ashley Schroeder said. “Especially considering our team is so young. Having a scrimmage season might actually be a good thing.”

The entire team is required to get rapid COVID testing three times a week in order to continue practicing and playing in the scrimmages. Senefelder said that the team continues to abide by the COVID-19 safety guidelines on and off the court. If any player contracts the virus the entire program is forced to shut down for ten days. This has made the players extra cautious in an effort to continue to participate for the shortened season.

Macy Kisner, a sophomore player, said the butterflies are already setting in ahead of the upcoming scrimmage against the Medaille Mavericks. “Every night before a game I always get nervous,” Kisner said. “I watch game tapes of the team we are playing and how I play against them and the things I can improve on, the best ways to guard players and the best ways to score. Considering I haven’t played a game in a long time because of COVID, I am nervous to play because I have no idea how the team is going to work together. Even though we only have a four game season I am ecstatic to be able to play a sport I love even if it’s for a short period of time.”

Hilbert Baseball Takes on Wells College

Hilbert’s men’s’ baseball team dropped both games in a double header against Wells College last month.

The team made their way to Wells College early Sunday morning, with the players eager to play after winning one of two of their last games against D’Youville College. Matt Kellner led off the game. Misael Guzman started off pitching for the Hawks.

In the top of the second inning, Guzman hit a 2-run homerun out to right field, putting the Hilbert Hawks at 0-2. Wells fought back in the bottom of the second inning scoring five runs, taking a 5-2 lead. Frank McCabe started off the third inning with a single, and later, a steal to second. “I was sitting on the fastball and he threw me one, so I jumped on it,” McCabe said. Kellner followed with an RBI double, making the score 5-4.

In the bottom of the third inning, Wells came back scoring three more runs, resulting in an 8-4 game. The Hawks then brought in their bullpen pitchers, Zachary Crane, Zackory Panfil, and Michael Contini. The trio was able to throw three shutout innings as well as three strikeouts. “As a bullpen, we threw strikes and executed pitches accordingly,” Contini said.  

Wells’ pitcher threw a complete game, securing an 8-4 for Wells.

The Hawks unfortunately took the loss on game 2 but are planning to bounce back Saturday March 27th at their double header against SUNY Fredonia. The first pitch is set for 12pm.

Men’s Basketball Sees Shortened year as an Opportunity

Players on the Hilbert Hawks men’s basketball team are disappointed about another shortened season, but are keeping their heads high while playing a few games this year.

The team had their season shortened with Covid-19 restrictions in place, only allowing them to get seven scrimmage games for the whole season.

Not only was their season cancelled, but Covid restrictions were also an obstacle. Just like every team, masks have to be worn in practices for precaution. “Athletes were no longer allowed to get extra gym time whenever they pleased, unless there was a scheduled practice,” said Wendell Abellard, a sophomore guard.

However, this short season allowed for them to improve on team bonding, Abellard said.

“Our team has improved on team chemistry… this year we found ways to get guys together and do activities outside of basketball,” Abellard added.

With just these few scrimmages, head coach Rob DeGrandpre is using these games as an evaluation for next season. The team has improved in just these few games, sophomore Jessie Price said.

“Coach is trying to give everybody an opportunity so he can understand their strengths, weaknesses, and capabilities for next season,” said Price.

DeGranpere, Price and the rest of the team hope to use this year as a learning opportunity that it will make them a stronger unity next year.

 “We are making sure we truly understand the system we’re playing in such as: learning offensive sets, and different kinds of defensive plays,” Price said. “The goal is to have all played with each other and understand everybody’s strengths and weaknesses.”

Hilbert Lacrosse Adjusts to Covid Restrictions

Preparing for a lacrosse game is no easy feat. Coaches spend hours designing practices, going over film, and creating the perfect roster. The players are constantly working out, watching what they eat, and still balancing schoolwork and a social life. But, with COVID-19, sports needed to take a backseat to health. In the spring of 2020, the season was cancelled four games in.

Fast forward to the spring of 2021, nobody knows if they will be able to finish the season, but the players and coaches are adjusting and trying to follow the new COVID-19 procedures set upon them by the school and the NCAA.

In multiple interviews the three captains on the Hilbert Men’s Lacrosse team, Brandon Bitka, Tony Cappola, and Liam Doyle, they helped shed some light on what the team is going through this season.

When asked about how COVID-19 has affected the team and himself in terms of camaraderie, Brandon Bitka, a junior Attackmen, said that because of the restrictions set in place by the school, it has been difficult to bond with teammates outside of lacrosse.

“COVID-19 has affected me personally by being able to be around teammates outside of practice,” Bitka said. “A big part of being on a team, being a leader on a team is also being able to connect with teammates outside of lacrosse. Due to COVID rules and restrictions this has limited our overall team bonding.”

It is safe to assume that for most who have ever played a sport, can admit that the best teams they have played on, are the teams where each member feels like a brother. As a freshman coming in college can be daunting and it is up to the upperclassmen to welcome them in and help them get adjusted from the transition from high school to college.

Tony Cappola, a fifth year senior Midfielder, stated that because of COVID-19, practices have changed drastically over the past couple months. In the beginning of the season, the team was allowed to hold practices with groups of ten players or less. Then with the introduction of three tests a week, practices have gone to what they normally were. Tony also states that when practices were held in groups of ten or less, it was difficult, and the team had to get creative with their drills and practice plans.

“In the beginning of the season and in our fall season we were only allowed to practice in groups of 10 or less,” Cappola said. “Starting two weeks ago we started getting three rapid tests a week and are able to practice like we normally would.  When we were in our groups of 10 it was a very different type of practice and the coaches had to get creative with our drills and practice plans.”

Liam Doyle, a junior Attackmen, was asked about the team’s overall skill this season. He said that last year’s team was “sick” and has some big shoes to fill. This current team’s roster is not the biggest, so everyone is going to have to step up, including the young guys.

“Our team last year was sick but for us to get to that same point this year, were going to need guys to fill some big shoes,” Doyle said. “Our roster size isn’t the biggest, so we are going to need everyone on the team to play a role. Young guys have to step up and ball out as best they can to help us out.”

The 2020 Hilbert Men’s Lacrosse team graduated or lost five starters on the team. Three being offensive attackmen. Gauging the three captains during the interviews, I would say this team has a lot to work on however, if anyone is capable of doing the work it is those guys. Hopefully, the team can stay healthy, and the 2021 college lacrosse season does not get cancelled.

Hilbert Starz Keep Spirits Up through Difficult Year

This school semester has been hard on many students with remote classes and sports. The Hilbert Starz are no exception.

The cheerleading team, like nearly every other part of campus life, has been affected by covid. They can’t compete. They are not at Hilbert sports events as they normally would be. And they can’t hold their typical spirit-promoting events.

But that hasn’t stopped them from spreading school spirit. This year they are working with Hilbert Spirit Squad to support athletic programs and provide encouragement.

Colleen Kumiega, the club’s faculty advisor, said that the team has put competition on hold with cheering at games or no competition in the area. But since the club is both a Student Government Association member and works with athletics they still have club obligations to service and fundraising.

“We did host a few Zooms to think of some fundraising ideas over the two semesters,” Kumeiga said.

Kat Pappas joined the Starz when she was a freshman. Because of Covid, she couldn’t do anything with the group her sophomore year.

“We might start some warm ups next year,” Pappas said.

Kumeiga said that the goal for startup is to have the girls do several pre made workout videos on their own for conditioning due to the gym and weight room not being offered to cheerleaders from lack of time availability. 

“We will use zoom as an extra practice for those who may need to catch up on sidelines and the dance routine,” Kumeiga said.

Kumeiga said that masking will also present a challenge. However, she believes the team will be able to figure out a way to adapt, perhaps take more breaks than they usually would.

“Honestly most of the girls have been to their own gym working out and are used to the mask,” she said. “But it’s not the easiest.”

Kat says that her favorite part of the Starz is how they can easily work together and try and improve our different stunting and if someone is struggling, we try and boost them up and say they can do it and we just keep trying.     

Kumeiga said the group has not had new members join since the beginning of the pandemic because theydid not hold tryouts in fall of 2020. But the team is hoping more members will join as things get closer to normal.

“We will still follow a team plan to practice and be ready for when events take place such as games or competition,” Kumeiga said. 

“We Bleed Hilbert Blue,” she said. “This is a team of true spirit and hard work but lots of team building and friendship making in the process.”

Hawks Softball and Baseball Eager to Use New Fields

Hilbert College ballpayers are soon going to be able to use their new fields after a long wait.

The new baseball and softball fields on campus, as part of an agreement with developers building apartments next to the campus, are nearing completion and the teams will soon be able to use them to host games. The fields desperately needed a change with poor drainage making it near impossible to host games with even mild amounts of precipitation in the days leading up to games.

The baseball and softball teams are eager to get out on the fields to practice and play games, with their spring seasons now started. The construction on these fields started in the fall of 2019, but there have been road bumps on the construction along the way.

It has been hard to complete the building of these fields because Covid 19 struck the world, then the cold weather, rain, and snow came to Buffalo, making it very hard to keep the building of the fields running smoothly.

Hilbert College Athletic Director Megan Valentine said the students are excited to play at home again.

“It ended up being more expensive and challenging on the back end of things,” Valentine said.

The idea of two new fields sounds great to everyone, but it is important to keep in mind the work that goes into coordinating the whole process and ensuring that it runs correctly.

The athletics program started planning for the new fields before Valentine became the athletic director at Hilbert. The fields are part of a deal between RANE Property Management, the company putting up apartments on the adjacent Immaculata site, and the Franciscan Sisters of Saint Joseph, who sold the land to the developer.

“We are very thankful for the Franciscan sisters of Saint Joseph to make these fields possible,” Valentine said. “We also had to do a lot with the town hall involving the permitting process.”

As for when the fields will be ready, it is hard to tell at this current time. The cold weather, snow, and rain has not helped the process at all as we near the time that home games need to be played for the Hawks baseball and softball teams.

“They can’t be ready soon enough. Drainage around this time of year is tough,” Valentine said. “Hopefully they can be used for games this spring.”

Sydnea Schiedel, an infielder on the softball team, said she is excited to play on the new fields.

“We are all eager to get out on to the new field,” Schiedel said. “Being able to practice and play on the new fields gives us so much more opportunity to get better and make competitive runs in our seasons.”

Valentine said having fields that can consistently host games will help the athletics department build a sense of community around the teams.

“It creates a lot of opportunities for the community around us to bring people to campus,” she said.

The fields will also create an opportunity for Hilbert College to use these fields in the summer to host tournaments or even a few camps during the summer, Valentine said.

“It helps with the recruitment process, and it is important to bring people here to build that relationship with recruits” Valentine said. It may seem like a lot right now with all the different obstacles that Hilbert Athletics had to tackle with the weather and the construction, but the end is near and when these fields are finally finished there will be nothing but good things coming out of them for the teams that play on them and the community surrounding Hilbert College, she said.

Hilbert Baseball Opens AMCC Play

Hilbert baseball opened conference play last week looking to follow up a big win against Oberlin College April 2. It would be a day where everything went La Roche University’s way.

The Hawks pitcher Aydan Rolph would only last 3 innings as the Redhawks got to him early scoring five runs. Jake Seymour, the starting pitcher for La Roche, threw six complete innings while giving up zero runs and striking out seven batters.

La Roche’s lead off hitter Austin Hoffman would have quite an offense game collecting two hits, one of those being his first homerun of the season. Hilbert would have seven hits in the first game but couldn’t plate a run dropping the first game of the double header 13-0.

In the second game Zachary Crane would start on the mound for the Hawks, but would leave the game in the second inning due to an injury. Before leaving crane would give up three runs, two of them being earned, making the score 3-0 heading into the bottom half of the third inning.

With the bases would be loaded for Misael Guzman., he hit a single scoring one and making the score 3-1. A couple pitches later Frank McCabe would score on a wild pitch making it 3-2. But two runs would cap Hilbert’s Offensive for the rest of the day. La Roche would continue to tack on 13 more runs throughout the rest of the game. Winning their second game of the season 16-2.

Hawks Softball Gets Back on the Field

The Hilbert Hawks softball team has been practicing hard with restrictions in place as they begin their spring season.  

“I am excited to be able to watch their games again, because all of my roommates play and I can sort’ve live the sport through them,” said junior psychology major, Kaylea Schiedel.

Since the first team meeting in September of last year, it was apparent to players that coming back with COVID-19 still in place, the experience would be vastly different. Safety is the biggest priority, said sophomore Sydney Schiedel, who plays second base.

“It is definitely different. There are a lot of things that make it tough. Twenty five percent of the team gets tested each week. Before games, we have to have a negative COVID test within 72 hours of the game,” said Schiedel. “Plus, we had to split into two pods, so we can only have 10 people in each pod to maintain physical distance from each other,” Schiedel stated.

One thing that continues to remain a top priority this season is the importance of teamwork and treating everyone with a fair opportunity both on and off the field.

“The captains are naturally those who are making this season turn out to be a success for our team. There is naturally some tension between players fighting for a spot, but the captain’s do a good job of making sure we are all playing together and feel like a team,” said Schiedel.

Schiedel said that last season effected eligibility to play this season, as seniority for players is determined by the years that an athlete is actively playing. This caused much frustration amongst those returning players and new players, both first-time freshman and transfers.

“I’m a sophomore in the classroom, but I’m a freshman on the field because I got my year of eligibility back last year since our season was cancelled. So now there’s a lot of girls that are freshman and have never played an actual collegiate game here at Hilbert. This is where it makes it confusing and caused frustration amongst being able to get a spot this season,” said Schiedel.