Captains on the diamond and in the classroom

For a student-athlete, juggling school and sports is a task not too many would be willing to say is their passion and a part of their life in which they love.

Manhattan College junior outfielder Chris Kalousdian (3.36 GPA) and junior right-handed pitcher Mike Scarinci (3.60 GPA) would say just that. Both of which were elected by the team to be its new captains.

“I want to take a leadership role especially that we’re a younger team,” Scarinci said. “I’d show the guys I can teach them through experience and give them the knowledge to make that step from high-school to college ball.”

Last season, Kalousdian played in only five games before missing most of the rest of the season after pulling his hamstring. Despite the injury, Kalousdian was still named to the MAAC All-Academic Team.

In past seasons he was able to make an impact both on-field and off-field.

In 2012, he was named to the MAAC All-Academic Team and MAAC Academic Honor Roll, hit 13 runs batted in, scored 17 runs, and defended to a .959 fielding percentage.

In 2011, he played in 23 games, hit to a .318 batting average, hit five runs batted in, scored eight runs, posted a .409 slugging percentage and .375 on-base percentage and fielded to a .909 fielding percentage.

As the MC baseball team enters into the 2014 season, Scarinci will not. On June 12, 2013, Scarinci underwent Tommy John surgery. He’s eight months removed and is set to start throwing in the bullpen in March.

“This is my first season ever of missing anything,” Scarinci said.

Before Tommy John, Scarinci, like Kalousdian, made an impact both on and off the field.

In 2013, he was named to the MAAC All-Academic Team, appeared in 17 games and struck out 25 batters in 31 innings of work.

Scarinci had one of the best seasons of his career in 2012.

He was named to the MAAC Academic Honor Roll, and was tied for third in the MAAC with 24 appearances on the mound – 19 out of the bullpen – and recorded six wins, which was tied for the second highest in the MAAC.

He had 28 strikeouts to 15 walks in 59 innings pitched, had a 3-1 record and 3.68 ERA against the MAAC. He posted a .231 batting average when facing MAAC teams, was named MAAC Rookie of the Week on March 25 and April 23, and was named to the national Primetime Performer Honor Roll by CollegeBaseball360.com.

“It helps that I’m a pitcher and [Kalousdian] is a fielder because we can each work with our own guys,” Scarinci said. “But it’s also important that if I see a hitter struggling, I can work with him and [Kalousdian] can work with the pitchers that are struggling. It’s good to see it from both sides.”

Kalousdian and Scarinci admitted last season was a setback for MC baseball. Not making the playoffs didn’t feel good, especially having done so throughout their college careers. However, it has motivated the team this season.

Scarinci said pitchers need improvement and hitters have to return to stringing hits together instead of being one hit shy of a win. He also said the sophomores learned a lot last season and freshman this year have the ability to help out and make an impact.

Kalousdian noted wanting to come in first-place and making the playoffs are the goals of the regular season but once you’re in the postseason, winning the MAAC championship is anyone’s for the taking. He said it doesn’t matter if the school is ranked as the No. 1 seed or the No.6 seed.

He believes MC will put up a good fight once in.

“It first stems from pitching,” Kalousdian said. “If you have good pitching then you have a good foundation. Once you string a couple of hits along its contagious, and I don’t think it really caught on last year. This year it’s a different look: faster guys, putting the ball in play a lot more and defense.”