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Geneva baseball: Eagles aim to build off strong 2023 campaign

Mar. 30—Last season, Geneva reached the peak of the CVC Chagrin with a conference title.

But the record scratch was abrupt, as the Eagles were eliminated in a sectional final against Ursuline on a sixth-inning, two-out single.

That defeat has fueled Geneva this offseason, and it's something they are ready to avenge.

Coach Terry Hejduk has seen all of the players buy into building off the loss. The players have spent the offseason working to have another strong season.

"In sports and in life, you always need to be moving forward and can't worry about what has happened in the past," Hejduk said. "It was great to pick up a CVC title last year, and we hope it will be the first of many. As a program in whole we need to believe in the process and put in the work needed to meet the goals we have. The old saying of hard work can beat talent is very true. This group is talented and also works hard."

Last year was a young and inexperienced lineup for Geneva. This season the Eagles have seniors littered all through their lineup.

Included in the group are three D-II baseball signees. Curtis Maier, a California University of Pennsylvania signee, is behind the plate, Shea Arkenburg, a Lake Erie signee, leads from second base with Hewitt Wilt, a Mercyhurst signee, at the top of the rotation.

The Eagles feature several strong pitchers behind Wilt as well, and several strong bats overall. But the biggest concern for Hejduk is the defense for the Eagles. But with the extra work he's seen the players put in early in the season, he's excited to see how that translates to the diamond.

"I know for me personally and the coaching staff, the early loss hurt and still does," Hejduk said. "We played a very solid game against a great Ursuline team and lost, 1-0. We have added a couple volunteer coaches this year which has enabled us to get some more 1-on-1 coaching time. The guys had great summers and have been staying on course so far this spring. We are a senior-heavy team, and they are a much more mature group. Come mid-May, we will be ready for the challenge."

While senior heavy, the Eagles do feature some new names who can impact the game. The future of the program is highlighted by freshman Ryland Besco and sophomore Logan Rustic.

The pair of utility players will see time throughout the season at times, and Hejduk is excited to see how they can impact the game as a whole.

He believes the mix of the the experience along with the new names impacting the game when needed, it can be another strong showing for the Eagles in the new CVC Lake Division.

"We are returning eight guys that got some significant varsity time last year and another two that at least played in a couple games," Hejduk said. "This does not leave room for many new faces. One new face that we plan on getting a ton of looks for us is Besco. Ryland has looked great so far this spring and will play some infield and pitch this year for us. He will be a big part of the program for the next four years.

"We also have Rustic. Logan got some at-bats and a couple innings in the field for us last year. Logan is scheduled to be in the starting lineup for us this year and we hope the experience from last year will help him in being an impact player for us right away. Lastly we have senior Kenny Young. Kenny was a role player for us last year but is a big-time athlete. With his versatility he is scheduled to be a gap filler for us in the field depending on who is pitching and will be looked to to produce at the plate this year."

Geneva got its season started with a 7-0 victory over Grand Valley. The Eagles now have to on the road, starting with a trip to Warren Howland on April 5.

Geneva has a rematch at home against Ursuline on April 12.