Last year, the Lehigh Baseball team was ranked third in the Patriot League preseason poll. Instead, they finished fifth with a 10-15 league record.
In the offseason, the team has been quietly rebuilding. With 11 new players this season, they are preparing to come back and take the league title.
The new members were introduced to the team in the fall and have been adjusting to life at Lehigh since — both as students and athletes.
First-year outfielder Jasper Adelman noted his appreciation for the opportunities to connect with his teammates during the offseason in preparation for the spring.
“The nice thing about being a spring sport is that we have that entire fall to bond as a team,” Adelman said. “So going into the season we all know each other well — on the field and off the field.”
While the transition to college life and collegiate-level baseball is difficult, Adelman said the older members of the team have done a great job integrating the new players to life at Lehigh.
Braydon Hubbard, a first-year outfielder from Easton, had an easier transition to the team than others. In addition to living only half an hour away from campus, his older brother Cam played on the Lehigh baseball team from 2020 to 2021.
“I remembered a lot of the older guys coming in, so that was nice,” Hubbard said. “And, I mean, all the freshmen, they’re some of my best friends I’ve made. [It’s] definitely a new transition, but it’s been great.”
Adelman, who went to high school at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, said he was drawn to Lehigh’s baseball program because of Coach Sean Leary.
“He is Lehigh,” Adelman said. “He represents Lehigh… there’s no one who knows Patriot League baseball better.”
In this offseason, Adelman and sophomore pitcher Cole Leaman said that Coach Leary had the team focusing on leadership and unity to get back in the running for the championship.
“Last year we were the favorites to [win the Patriot League Championship]. We thought it was going to be easy and then it kind of hit us in the face,” Leaman said. “This year it’s very much the opposite. We know we have to grind for it, but we’re definitely prepared to win the whole thing.”
Adelman and Leaman also said that the team had several meetings throughout the year where they honed in on specifics to improve on from last year. One aspect they look to improve is their balance between teamwork and leadership.
“We’re going to play a more unselfish game,” Leaman said. “When there’s a situation that calls for something that might not be the most fun way to play baseball, we’re going to really try our best to do it out of the best interest of the team.”
The team will look much different after losing three senior players and five fifth-years at the end of last season.
Leaman said he expects the team to rely heavily on the first-years and sophomores this season.
“There’s gonna be guys that I think will break into the scene,” Leaman said. “I think we’re gonna get some good late-inning arms and some good position players as well, with a lot of speed.”
He said another one of the team’s focuses is accountability — especially between older and younger members.
“We’re placing a lot of emphasis on holding our team to a high standard this year,” he said.
Adelman said he has already bought into this coaching philosophy.
“Baseball is all about managing failure,” Adelman said. “I definitely experienced some of that in the fall, and that’s natural. That’s going to happen and that’ll make me a better player eventually. It will make me a better player in the long run, it will make our team better.”
The Lehigh Baseball team opens their season against Ball State in South Carolina on Feb. 16, followed by Michigan State on Feb. 17 and Iowa on Feb. 18.