New-Look Baseball Team Ready for Upcoming Season


The Rams are hoping that their offseason additions will help them make the Atlantic-10 playoffs after falling short last season. (Courtesy of Fordham Sports)


The Rams are hoping that their offseason additions will help them make the Atlantic-10 playoffs after falling short last season. (Courtesy of Fordham Sports)

After narrowly missing out on an Atlantic 10 (A-10) playoff spot last season, the Fordham Rams baseball team, fueled by a new coaching staff, new talent and a new mentality, looks poised to take their 2012 campaign deep into the playoffs.

The most notable offseason move was the hiring of the new head coach, Kevin Leighton. Leighton brings years of experience and success to the Rams. Before joining Fordham, Leighton spent six years as head baseball coach of the Manhattan Jaspers, where he won more than 30 games every season. In addition, Leighton led Manhattan to its second Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MACC) championship, as well as a second appearance in the NCAA tournament.

When asked about the impact Leighton will have on the team, left-handed pitcher Jeff Trimmer, Gabelli School of Business (GSB ’14) said, “Coach Leighton emphasizes good baseball. He’s very committed to winning and I think that will help the team stay focused both on and off the field.”

In addition to Leighton, Fordham hired Siena College’s former assistant coach Jimmy Jackson to take over the role of pitching coach and recruiting coordinator. Jackson spent the past two seasons at Siena College as the pitching coach and recruiting coordinator, where he brought in the two largest recruiting classes in the program’s history. During Jackson’s tenure as pitching coach the team lowered their earned run average (ERA) by two full runs each season, and in his final season the team increased their win total by 12 games over previous season.

It is often said that pitching and defense, not offense, wins championships, and with Jackson guiding the staff, a championship could be in the cards. “If there’s one thing that’s really going to help us, it’s the coaches,” Trimmer said. “Constantly running drills, refining our defense, these guys want to win just as much as we do and it really creates a strength surrounding the team.”

With a new-look coaching staff, the team is now working on changing its mentality about winning. Leighton said, “I want to teach the team that winning on a consistent basis is important.”

In response to the shift in mentality Trimmer said, “Last year, we made some pivotal mistakes that cost us some games. To fix this, Coach has told us that we have to focus in every game. We have to have the mentality that every game matters and we can’t afford to lose.”

This “win now” mentality will undoubtedly be helpful to this relatively young team that features five new starters. “We’ve got a lot of talent but we have to fight hard in every game and we have to learn not to let our guard down,” Trimmer said.

With this new mentality in place, the next goal is a championship, which will motivate the Rams all season long. This year the A-10 championship will take place at Fordham so it is crucial that the team performs well to get there. If they make it, they could have a potentially dangerous home field advantage.

The expectations are high going into next season as the Rams look to build on their recent success. Currently, the Rams are ranked seventh out of twelfth in the A-10—one rank shy of a playoff spot—but they are ready to prove those critics wrong and make it to the postseason. The Rams will begin play on Feb. 17 against Western Carolina University.