Fall Ball Report: Coppin State Looks to Build With Pitching Depth

It’s been a little more than five months since Coppin State baseball took the field concluding the 2020-2021 season and the Eagles have turned the page in preparation for a new season as they opened fall training at Joe Cannon Stadium.

Coppin is fortunate to get back on the field and play baseball in a normal environment again. Last season is history, but it brought upon some obstacles that made it challenging to build a team and consistent growth. The baseball program will try and take advantage of the time they have with one another, in hopes of building a competitive group. 

Sherman Reed, the 2018 MEAC Coach of the Year and winningest baseball coach in school-history, enters his 12th season as the head coach of the Coppin State baseball program in 2022.

The Eagles registered a 10-29 record last season and welcome freshmen newcomers to the program looking to fill vacancies. Coppin State fall ball marked the NCAA mandated 45-day window as the baseball team began to prepare for what is expected to be another challenging schedule beginning in mid-February.

Full-squad training sessions have already taken place and will be open. As fall practice concludes, Coppin State will continue to watch what players will try to carve out roles on the pitching staff, as well as what fielders may be looking to sneak into the lineups next year. 

The strengths of this year’s team will definitely be pitching. 

According to coach Reed, “We have the deepest quality depth of pitching I have ever had during my stint at Coppin State. Our new pitching coach Sean Repay has done an exceptional job making an immediate positive impact on this talented staff. The immediate buy-in by our guys is a tribute to Coach Repay’s leadership skills.”

The pitching staff will be led by Rashad Ruff and Giovanni Canales, who both lit the radar gun with fastballs at 90-plus mph. Both were ranked by Baseball America as #1 and #2 in “MEAC Top 2022 Draft Conference Prospects.” Reed stated both will join “Coach Repay’s 90 mph club with sophomore returner Tyler Nichol, along with freshman Sam Batis, and JUCO transfer Johan Freudenburg. With returners Tim Ruffino, Jordan Hamberg, John Neeld, Luke Baker, Nico Felber, and the strong additional young arms that arrived from the 2021 recruiting class, the staff potentially could be dominant.”

The strength of last year’s team was hitting coach Jovanny Zarzabal’s offense, which finished 48th nationally in hitting and return all but one bat from last year’s squad. Coppin placed five players in last year’s conference top ten in hitting, including the top three hitters overall. This fall marked the return of 2021 pre-season favorite for Player of the Year, and Black College Nines HBCU Baseball Elite, outfielder Marcos Castillo who returns from a year’s absence due to surgery. Marcos has had a monstrous fall season, leading the team in total bases and home runs. 

Two former Division I infield transfers in Brian Nicolas and Corey Miley will help to stabilize the infield that struggled last year defensively. “We remain inexperienced behind the plate with two sophomores (Mike Dorcean and Sebastien Sarabia) being joined by talented freshman Landen Argabright.”

The team competed in its annual Baseball Fall Series split squad. It was a great opportunity for the players to see what they’re capable of doing in the short term. But there are still some veteran leaders in the clubhouse Coach Reed will rely on to help reinforce the standard of Coppin baseball for the newcomers. 

Everybody is competitive and competing against each other. Just seeing how competitive the younger players are with the older ones, just competing against each other.

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