Lions win season opener against ULM

Senior Domenick Carlini steps up to the plate at the game against ULM.

Senior Domenick Carlini steps up to the plate at the game against ULM on Saturday while senior
Sam Roberson preps to step up to the plate behind him.
The Lion's Roar/Heather Jewell

In their season opener against the University of Louisiana Monroe this past weekend, the Lions baseball team served up two of three victories against the War Hawks, falling just short in the final match on Sunday.

Senior pitcher Kyle Cedotal performed his second season shut out at the game on Friday, giving the Lions a 2-0 victory.

“Yesterday [Friday], the jitters were there, you could see it, but Cedotal did his deal,” said Head Baseball Coach Matt Riser. “That is why he is the pre-season All American. That is why he is on the pre-season All Conference Team. He did exactly what we needed him to do. He went out there, threw a lot of strikes early and controlled the whole ball game. I couldn’t be more proud of him.”

For Cedotal and a few others, this was their last season opener.

“It’s your last one so it’s more of a bittersweet thing that it’s coming to an end,” said Cedotal in an interview with teammate Jameson Fisher. “But I think we are all proud of how we started it off.”

Both players have been recognized in the pre-season and when asked what the experience was like Cedotal praised his teammate.

“This guy right here, he is the most humble one on the team,” said Cedotal. “The Jameson Fisher. I love this guy, it is well deserved for him. He works incredibly hard; I am proud of him.”

After good naturedly taking the pats on the back from his teammate, Fisher said he believed being chosen presented a great opportunity.

“You just have to keep everything in perspective and not get caught up in the awards and pre-season stuff,” said Fisher. “You just need to come out here and play it one game at a time; play for your teammates, play for God and not worry about all that other stuff.”

During the Friday match, it was Fisher who had the winning run that day.

“It was awesome to have the second run in and close it out, then have Kyle shut it off,” said Fisher. “It was a great way to open up the season.”

Riser was impressed by certain players after the second match victory on Saturday (8-2), including junior Ryan Byers for taking full advantage of his starting position and senior Chris Eades for making it with the bat.

Riser also had words for Friday’s second runner. 

“Jameson Fisher had a great game last night; he was two of three hits, he got both runs and had an RBI then had another good one for us today,” said Riser.

Four of the team’s seniors have been Lions since their underclassmen years, while another four were transferred. Speaking of the four who have been on the team since their freshman year, Riser believes he has seen growth and maturity.

“To be honest, the four freshmen who came in have been here since have done a fantastic job of growing, and Kyle [Cedotal] is one of those,” said Riser. “As a freshman, sophomore pitcher he may have gotten a little irritated back then, but he understands how important he is now, being here on Friday night and he knows he’s just a role player for us because he is so valuable. Sam Roberson after five years didn’t start yesterday, but he didn’t complain about it. I think the seniors have grown tremendously into mature young men.”

Both Cedotal and Fisher remember their first season opening games. Even though he did not pitch that day, Cedotal pitched the next game and remembered what it was like walking up to the mound.

“You walk up there, you walk up to the mound, and you see thousands of people, it’s a little intimidating, but it’s an awesome feeling,” said Cedotal.

Fisher remembered feeling nervous for his collegiate debut.

“I went over four that day,” said Fisher. “I had a bunch of jitters I had to play through but I did it. Playing at the college level is so much more fun than playing at the high school level.”

Now they are in the leadership roles and Fisher believes it was watching the older players when they were younger that helped prepare them for the responsibility.

“It’s the experience over the years and the help from the older guys that was given to the younger guys has really helped us out,” said Fisher.

The team will next face off against Alcorn State tomorrow at 6:00 p.m. on the Pat Kennelly Diamond at Alumni Field.

The Lions Baseball team played a three game series this past weekend against in-state rival ULM.

The Lions Baseball team played a three game series this past weekend against in-state rival ULM.
The Lion's Roar/Megan Ferrando