The Friars are itching for warm weather so they can get out on the field at the Priory and begin a season where everyone on the team is relatively healthy.
The eagerness stems from last season's frustrating early season woes when the team had seven starters go down with injuries, which led to a 2-9 record to start the season.
"But that's all in the past now," said a relieved Dave Hogan, entering his 25th season (545-257) as head coach of the Friars.
The struggles in the past had a positive influence on the future. This season's club, made up mostly of the players who had to carry the load last season, which eventually led to a 21-14 season and a regional title, are a venerable and proven squad. Returning to the team this season are power hitters Pat Brady and Jim Murphy. Brady batted .375 last season, while Murphy smacked out an average of .360. Nick Marino, Jack Horrigan, and John Baker survived the injury plague last season, and are expected to make a major impact again this year.
Mike Giovanco, Mike Brown, Joe Vanis, Kevin Ellsworth, and Pat Gallagher, Hogan said, will see extensive time on the mound. Giovanco, a 6-foot-6-inch 215-pound junior, and his senior counter-part Brown are expected to be Nos. 1 and 2, respectively, once the season kicks off.
Hogan hopes to get a lot of production from a mix of experienced players and newcomers in Joe Caminiti, Brian Quinn, Shea Roche, Joe Carlini, Carmen Curio and Eddie Mazur, who will join the team as soon as hockey concludes.
Three players vying for the catcher position include senior Matt Harmon and juniors Vince Dorsey and Steve Henneberry.
The Friars will have one sophomore on the team in Newman Delany, who is expected to play the outfield and pitch.
Adding to Fenwick's good fortune this season is the fact the Friars will host not only a regional but a sectional as well.
"This has got the makings of a good club and a good season," said Hogan. "When we get some good weather and get our feet on a field we should be ready to go."
The Friars are scheduled to open the season Thursday at home against Von Steuben (4 p.m.), but if the weather is below 40 degrees the game will be rescheduled.
Key returners: Pat Brady, Jim Murphy
2004 record (finish): 21-14 overall, second in CL North, regional title
Outlook: Most of these players kept Fenwick afloat during rough waters last season.
Coach's quote: "We're all healthy as of right now, knock on wood seven times."