The College Baseball Blog recently had a chance to talk to John Cole who is entering his third season with the Penn Quakers. They won the Lou Gehrig division in 2007 but were swept by the Brown Bears in two games.
1. In 2007, Penn had a great season in the Ivy League by going 12-8 in the conference but finishing with an overall record of 20-19. The Quakers return a veteran squad as seven out of the nine starters from the 2007 Gehrig Division championship team return. Who is going to replace Joey Boaen (.310 BA) and Josh Corn (.288 BA) who have both graduated?
Freshman Adrian Lorenzo (Miami, Fl) and sophomore Tom Grandieri (Philadelphia, PA) should really give us a boost in the outfield to help replace Joey Boaen. Both of these young men are aggressive left-handed hitters who bring energy to our lineup. Junior Jeff Cellucci (Norristown, PA) and freshman Will Davis (Atlanta, GA) will give us a strong one-two punch behind the plate. Cellucci hit .350 as a sophomore and Davis brings a load of talent from the left side.
2. Todd Roth had one of the best freshman seasons in recent memory as he led the team with a 6-2 record and a 1.98 ERA. Are there any incoming freshmen pitchers who are going to have such a strong impact on the program like Roth did in 2007?
There is only one Todd Roth. However, promising, hard throwing RHP Paul Cusick (Wilmington, DE) and two-way athlete Jeremy Maas (Atlanta, GA) will give us some young power arms.
3. Kyle Armeny had a breakout season in 2007 where he led the Quakers in Batting average (.326), runs scored (35), doubles (14), home runs (8), total bases (84), slugging percentage (.596) and walks (29). What player do you think has improved the most during the off-season who could have a breakout season in 2008?
I expect big things from fellow sophomores Bobo Gordon (Atlanta, GA) and Matt Toffaletti (Durham, NC). Both of these players are good infield defenders who can pitch at the end of games. They had very good offensive freshman seasons and have really strengthened their bodies. We now have five two-way players in our program and these two can really impact our lineup.
4. Which programs in the Ivy League do you expect to be your biggest challenge in winning the Conference championship and the NCAA bid?
There is so much parity in our league that it is hard to say one year to another. I think it is a wide open race and it should go down to the final weekend series.
5. What is your biggest challenge on and off the field in dealing with young men from 18-23?
Our biggest challenge in the Ivy League is to balance our ability to work with our athletes within the rules and the student-athletes’ class schedules. I think it can be accomplished but you have to be very flexible as a coach. Recruiting the right kids who like to work and who can thrive in this type of atmosphere is imperative.
The CBB would like to thank John Cole for taking the time to answer some questions about his Quakers. If any more coaches or SID’s would like to do an interview feel free to contact us by clicking here.