By TANNER BERMAN
The Fighting Knights baseball team has kickstarted their season with a team of star athletes.
Most of the returning players usually congregate in the right field corner, hurling fastballs and working on their mechanics. This group of relief pitchers calls themselves the “bro-pen.”
The entire bro-pen is made up of juniors and seniors. Most of these pitchers have plenty of experience on the field.
Probably one of the most battle-tested pitchers in the pen is left handed, AJ Falleta, who has been a staple in the Fighting Knights bullpen – an area for pitchers to warm up – for years.
“It’s going to be pretty interesting, there’s a lot of left handed hitters in the conference,” said Falleta, senior. “I just spoke to Coach Garbalosa and he wants me start working on a few things specifically for conference play.”
This left handed specialist will be turned to during critical moments throughout the season during situational play, especially against opposing left handed hitters.
Headlining the bro-pen this season is the Fighting Knights senior who closes the game, Bill Mendek.
Coming off a monster season in which he only gave up five earned runs the entire season while collecting seven saves and posting an earned run average (ERA) of .77, Mendek and his bullpen are looking to keep the same approach as last season.
“Honestly I’m looking to do the same thing I did last year,” said Mendek. “Our bullpen thrives on the team and we really take pride in what we do. We try to keep the momentum on our side.”
The pre-season All American will be an important cog in coach Rudy Garbolosa’s plans for the remainder of the season.
Even though the returning players will anchor the bro-pen, the pitchers who are within their first season as a Fighting Knight will play a major role as conference play approaches. Mendek admires the way his teammates carry themselves when doing work on the mound.
“They have a good demeanor,” said Mendek. “They go out there and they want to be fierce, not show their emotions and just get guys out. That’s what we’re looking for.”
The bro-pen and Fighting Knight’s baseball team have a long road ahead of them, but like every season Coach Garbalosa and the team are ready for whatever is thrown their way.