There are roles to fill in any sport, and Patrick Kaminska knows what his is for the Central Michigan baseball team.
Kaminska, a senior, will lead CMU on the mound as he steps up as the team’s ace, with fellow senior Rick Dodridge and sophomores Jordan Foley and Matt Trowbridge also in the starting rotation.
“I’m happy with whatever role I’m going to be placed in to help the team win the most,” Kaminska said. “(Pitching) coach (Jeff) Opalewski does a great job at finding out what those roles are going to be for us, so we’re definitely confident going into week one.”
The Chippewas will start the season this weekend with a four-game series at Louisiana-Lafayette.
Baseball head coach Steve Jaksa said Kaminska will not start the first game because of the way the schedule is laid out.
This weekend, the team plays today, Saturday and Sunday. Next week, the team will also have a Thursday game at Murray State before facing Western Kentucky on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
“That was one of the reasons we switched the rotation because of that day’s rest and who would be best equipped to handle the one day short of rest in terms of the rotation,” Jaksa said. “We feel good about all four of them. They all throw well and all have experience.”
Both Dodridge and Kaminska have been weekend starters before, Jaksa said, and Trowbridge and Foley have thrown on the weekend before.
Opalewski said Kaminska was an easy choice to lead the pitchers based on his performance last year and the work he’s put in.
At the start of conference play last year, Kaminska joined CMU’s weekend rotation and finished MAC play 4-2 with a 3.59 ERA in seven starts.
Kaminska started twice at the MAC tournament, including the MAC Championship game on two days rest, pitching 9 2/3 innings with an 1.86 ERA.
The team is full of talent, Kaminska said, and he’s excited to see where his fellow pitchers fall into place.
Sophomores Sean Renzi and Dylan Rheault will be looked to when it comes to shortening games and closing things down, Opalewski said.
Returning pitchers for the Chippewas are juniors Scott Marinier and Kenton San Miguel.
Nine new pitchers join the Chippewas this season with true freshmen Adam Aldred, Matt Constance, Jason Gamble, Taylor Lehnert, Jimmy McNamara and Ryan O’Shea, redshirt freshmen Blake Louscher and Marc Jaksa and junior college transfer Joe Ucho.
“We’re going to mix and match a little bit, try to put guys in situations to be successful,” Opalewski said. “We’re deep and I think we’re going to have some versatility. It may be a bit different from what we’ve done in the past.
“Where we’ve relied so heavily on the same group of guys. I think we’re going to see more guys contribute this year, and I’m looking forward to seeing them perform.”