By Andrew Peterson
Youngstown State University’s baseball team is gearing up for its 2023 season.
Last season, the Penguins went 21-36 and won just under 40% of their total games.
For the Horizon League conference games, the Penguins went 12-16 — just above 40%.
The ‘Guins did have some achievements in 2022. Matt Brosky was named to the 2022 Horizon League Baseball All-Tournament Team for his performance in the league’s post-season tournament
Last year as a junior, Braeden O’Shaughnessy set a new single-season school record for games played and started in. O’Shaughnessy was named First-Team All-Horizon League. He’s the second YSU infielder to earn First-Team All-Horizon League honors since Drew Dosch in 2013. O’Shaughnessy finished the season ranked second in the Horizon League in batting average.
This season as a senior, O’Shaughnessy won PNC Achievers Award, which is awarded to someone with leadership qualities on the field, in the classroom and within the community.
O’Shaughnessy said he was striving for the achievements.
“I want to be First-Team All-Horizon League again and hopefully player of the year,” O’Shaughnessy said.
Last year, head coach Dan Bertolini had some achievements of his own with the Penguins.
Bertolini helped YSU to a 21-36 record to give YSU back-to-back 20-win seasons for the first time since 2005-2006. He also won 13 road games for the second straight season with double-digit road wins in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 2006-2007.
In 2022, YSU placed third in the Horizon League Baseball Championship, which was the program’s best finish since winning the tournament in 2014.
Freshman Matt Thompson will start at second base for the team. He was ranked as the No. 33 overall prospect in Ohio and the No. 10 shortstop in Ohio by Perfect Game.
Thompson, who comes in as a true freshman, said he’s working to adjust to the schedule of a student-athlete in college as opposed to high school.
“At first it was difficult because you have to go to class. Early workouts start at 2 p.m. but some guys get there before 2 p.m. so that is something that I adopted,” Thompson said. “It is basically like go to class, eat, practice, lift [and] sleep. Then, you just repeat that every day.”
Bertolini said the team is working to improve its record from last season.
“We have an older group, we have some guys that have been here for 4, 5 and some 6 years. So we’re going to rely on that experience to lead us through this year,” Bertolini said.
Bertolini also said he had many expectations for the team this upcoming season.
“I feel really good [with] where we’re at as a team from an offensive perspective, on the mound. that ultimately our goal is to win a Horizon League Championship,” Bertolini said.
On Feb. 15, the men’s baseball team was picked to finish fourth in the Horizon League in 2023 by the league’s head coaches.
The Penguins are away Feb. 17 and will play the University of Illinois and Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The game can be listened to at YSNLive.com.