Baseball’s Florida trip: Early success and outlook on season


Nick Phillips, Contributing Writer

The 2023 baseball season is underway for the Utica Pioneers. The team had their first game on March 4 during a New Jersey trip and continued action a week later during the RussMatt Central Florida Invitational. 

The invitational was played in three different Florida locations, including Auburndale, Winter Haven and Davenport. The trip consisted of a six-game series from March 13 – 16 where Utica finished with a 4-2 record. 

 Some of the main highlights from the trip came from the freshman pitchers. Conner Ford allowed only one run in 6.1 innings over the six-game set. Dylan Sullivan, Kooper Knabe and Derrike Goutremout each picked up a win while in Florida.    

According to some players, the Florida trip was a fun experience for the entire team.

“The trip was great,” freshman player Dean Cox said. “It was my first time playing baseball in a year and a half due to various shoulder injuries and surgeries that I have dealt with.”

The weather conditions between Utica and Florida are vastly different and play an important role in how players adjust during games.

“Playing in Northeast Florida was a hard adjustment for me because of the weather,” Cox said. “It was hard pitching in the hot and humid conditions when I was just getting used to pitching in the cold and rain.”

Last year, the Pioneers finished the season with a 21-18 record, reaching the Empire 8 Conference Tournament. 

The team has kept some momentum since the Florida trip and currently has a 10-5 record overall and 2-1 in conference play, which is second behind Houghton University. 

The Pioneers will play Houghton University at home for the next three games on Friday, March 31 and a doubleheader on April 1.