Pioneers Baseball Team Getting into the Swing of Things

Aldrin Bulayo / The Pioneer

Amanda Zepeda

Center fielder Nick McManus takes a monster swing during a scrimmage. McManus, a senior, ranked first among CSUEB hitters last season in numerous categories, such as batting average, RBIs and hits.
A sophomore out of Palmdale, Sharrer has also proven to be a vital infield and outfield player.

In anticipation of the start of the 2011 season, the CSU East Bay baseball team will welcome Vanguard University to open this year’s season.

In their second year as part of the CCAA Division II, this Pioneers are looking to turn some heads and play spoilers for the rest of the conference.

Although predicted to finish the season at the bottom of the rankings for their 2010 campaign, the Pioneers silenced their critics and finished ranked in the middle of the pack, with a 23-29-1 overall record and an eighth place finish.

This season they look to be right in the mix with a strong pitching rotation, along with their two most consistent offensive and defensive producers returning to the field, Nick McManus and Charlie Sharrer.

Entering his senior year at CSUEB, Nick McManus has established himself as a leader with a proven bat and glove. He is versatile in both infield and outfield positions and bats both left- and right- handed, proving to be a pivotal weapon in the lineup.

Last season McManus was ranked first among CSUEB hitters in batting average with a .398 average, 64 RBI, and 16 doubles. He also set the record for most hits in a season by any player at CSUEB, with 82.

What sets McManus apart, according to the coaching staff, is his ability to excel in all parts of the game. He is described as a five-tool player; he can hit for average or power, plays solid defense, has speed and a good arm.

McManus is confident that he will not only perform at his highest level this season, but the entire team will as well.

“I believe we will be a team to be reckoned with,” said McManus. “We have depth in every spot of the lineup and pitching. When you have depth like that, it makes the team much more competitive.”
“It will be a fun and exciting year,” said McManus.

The senior, who is from Temecula, was recognized as a star pitcher in high school, but as he developed more as a player, it was apparent that his swing was his greatest strength. With the opportunity to be an everyday player, McManus is appreciative of the opportunity that CSUEB has given him to help this team succeed.

“Here at East Bay I remembered why I enjoyed playing baseball so much,” said McManus. “I am learning more about the game and I feel like everyday I can improve somehow.”

Joining McManus is another offensive weapon and leader for the Pioneers, Charlie Sharrer.

Last season, Sharrer was nearly perfect on defense, posting a .974 fielding percentage. He batted .313 with five homeruns and 38 RBI.

Along with the rest of his teammates, he is optimistic before the start to this season.

“Last year, we surprised a lot of people,” said Sharrer. “This year, we have a good group of guys and a more complete team.”

Head coach Dick Morrison described how valuable both Sharrer and McManus have to been to the Pioneers baseball squad.

“They have proven to be effective for us,” said coach Morrison. “These guys play hard and compete.”

“There isn’t just one distinct strength to this team. The strength of the team this year is that we are capable of excelling in all aspects of the game.”

Entering his 18th year as the head coach for the CSUEB baseball team, Morrison and his assistant head coach, John Carrion, have been building a team dynamic in the offseason that looks to carry the team through the entire season.

With less than two weeks away from the season and home opener for the Pioneers, the coaching staff and players have been working hard at establishing an essential team atmosphere to set up an anticipated 2011 season that will be worth watching.