Temple club baseball carries historic start into spring season

Temple looks to continue its winning record in the spring season, which starts on March 9.

Nick Delp, the club president and a senior catcher and first baseman, hits a pitch during practice at the Student Pavilion on Monday. | LUKE SMITH / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Temple University’s club baseball team will start the spring season with its best record since the program began in Fall 2014.

After posting a 15-9 record and going on a deep playoff run last season, the Owls went 10-0 in the fall and are ranked No. 6 in the National Club Baseball Association Division II rankings. 

The spring season will begin on March 9.

The Owls beat Chesapeake Region North Conference teams Rider University and Villanova last season, resulting in a 6-0 conference play record.

Before the fall season started, the Owls’ team leaders felt they could go on a run like this to start the season. The offense leads the charge, as the team is hitting .400 and averaging 11.9 runs per game.

“We were really confident going into this year after we selected the team,” said Nick Delp, the club president and a senior catcher and first baseman. “This is the best group we could’ve picked.”

“I can honestly say that we don’t have any bench players,” he added. “Everybody’s playing, everybody’s involved.”

Fourteen athletes have played in at least half of the Owls’ games in the fall. Underclassmen like sophomore outfielder Joe Capri, sophomore infielder Bobby Steven and freshman infielder Drew Chiappa have contributed to the team’s offensive play. 

In their first seasons with the Owls, Capri is 8-for-13 with 12 RBIs and Chiappa is 7-for-21 and has scored 10 runs. Steven is 6-for-17, three hits shy of last season’s total, with five RBIs. 

“Everyone’s just doing their job really well,” Steven said. “No one’s trying to do too much. We all just try and rally off each other. And we’ve done a great job of that.”

Junior shortstop and pitcher Christian Dekker has had a strong start to the season, continuing his success from last year. In 2017-18, he and 2018 accounting alumnus first baseman Jordan Pocrass became the program’s first two All-Americans.

In his only game at shortstop this year, Dekker went 2-for-4 and scored a run. Dekker’s strongest impact has come when he is pitching.

In three starts, Dekker has two complete games and hasn’t allowed any runs so far to contribute to the team’s 3.77 ERA. Dekker has struck out 21 batters in 18 innings pitched. 

“Experience really, really helped me in building up my arm strength, and throwing in small increments and then building up to becoming a starter,” Dekker said.

Dekker isn’t the only upperclassman off to a hot start. Delp and junior infielder Nick Zambella have led the way on offense. Delp is 16-for-25 with 14 RBI and one grand slam. Zambella, who has played all 10 games, has 12 hits and 10 RBI. 

The Owls have routinely pressured opposing pitchers with stolen 23 bases. Capri and junior outfielder Scott Cummings lead the team with three steals each. 

The Owls will play a double-header against conference foe Monmouth University.

“We all had the confidence that whoever we did end up choosing was going to help us and do whatever they could to help us win,” Dekker added. 

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