By JOHN CORYER
---- — PLATTSBURGH — A new-look roster in 2013 has Plattsburgh State baseball coach Kris Doorey excited about the upcoming season.
Fifteen players who were on last year’s roster are gone off this season’s 31-player squad.
“We have a lot of new faces and it’s exciting,” Doorey said. “Sometimes it’s better for the players not to know too much about the opponents they will play and that’s the case this year. Our players need to take this as a chance to play.
“There will be some growing pains. I can’t remember having a team this young — we have a lot of freshmen and sophomores.”
The Cardinals open their season on Saturday in the Diamond Nation Tournament in Flemington, New Jersey. They play King’s College at 10 a.m. and St. John Fisher at 4 p.m.
“We play a hard early schedule against teams like St. John Fisher, The College of Old Westbury and Farmingdale State,” Doorey said.
Plattsburgh, which finished 22-17 overall and 9-9 in SUNY Athletic Conference play last season, will then return home and will not play again until March 8.
“Our No. 1 goal continues to be making the conference tournament,” Doorey said. “Our second goal is to host the tournament and have teams come to Plattsburgh. Anything can happen.”
Plattsburgh will have a new look at several starting positions.
The only returning starters include sophomore first baseman Chris Pescetti, senior catcher Casey Brighton, sophomore outfielder Mike Vargues and sophomore Brian Latulipe, who started some games a year ago.
Senior Mike Mulvihill also returns as the designated-hitter.
“We’re new and it’s great,” Doorey said. “What’s refreshing is that the players are excited about practice. I can’t gauge what kind of a team we’re going to have because I know we’re pretty much starting over.”
The Cardinals will be especially new up the middle.
Two newcomers — freshman Kevin Briggs and junior transfer John Casten — are battling it up to start behind the plate.
“Briggs can hit with power, but we’re looking to get improved defense at the catching position,” Doorey said.
As of right now, three local former standouts will play shortstop, second base and center field.
Latulipe will be the shortstop, while former Saranac standout Ben Weightman has the nod at second. Former Beekmantown standout infielder Luke Weaver is slated to get the start in center.
“We’ve had success with local kids who want to put in the time and effort to become better players,” Doorey said. “They’re good baseball players.”
Freshman J.D. Springer is also in the mix in the middle infield.
Either Pescetti or Brighton will play first base, while the third-base duties will be handled by junior Shane Houppert, a transfer from Jefferson Community College.
The outfield alignment will include freshman newcomer Mat Chavez in left, Weaver in center and Vargues in right.
“Weaver and Chavez are very fast in the outfield,” Doorey said.
Pitchers returning from last year who will be counted on include seniors Marc Plante, Brian Burns, Mike Doughtie and Kyle Kelly.
Vargues, sophomore Corey Grossman and senior Steven Corea will also see some time on the mound.
Sophomore Rafael Ponce, freshman Scott Orr and junior Colin Crawford are among the newcomers who are expected to contribute.
Plante, Burns, Kelly and Ponce are the leading contenders for starting jobs as the season opens up.
“Our rotation still isn’t set,” Doorey said. “That’s why we play these early games to get an idea of where we stand.”
Doorey considers just having all the new faces a team strength.
“I consider the newness of the team a strength,” he said. “There are no expectations other than to go out there and do your best, and put your best effort forward.
“We also have a lot more team speed and we’re more athletic. We play at Chip Cummings Field and we will still have to manufacture runs. We have some guys who can hit for power, like Briggs and Mulvihill, but we need to do all the little things well, like bunting and stealing. We have to do the little things better than last year.”
Doorey will be assisted by former St. Michael’s coach Matt Rodovick, Kris Cauchon and Gary Butler.2013 Plattsburgh State baseball roster 00- Jimmy Rosario, 6-1, 160, senior shortstop/outfielder, Brooklyn/Franklin D. Roosevelt 3- Tommy Verdino, 6-3, 195, sophomore first baseman, Yorktown Heights/Somers 4- Eric Dwyer, 5-9, 176, junior catcher/third baseman, Chateaugay/Chateaugay 5- Matt Meunier, 5-8, 185, junior outfielder, Swanton. Vt./BFA-St. Albans 6- Jake Oswald, 5-11, 165 sophomore second baseman, Saratoga Spring/Saratoga Springs 7- Nicholas Lupo, 6-0, 157, sophomore outfielder, Fishkill/John Jay East Fishkill 9- Shunsuke Sugimoto, 5-9, 150, sophomore pitcher/outfielder, Tokyo, Japan/Josai 10- Shane Houppert, 6-2, 165, junior third baseman, Lowville/Lowville Academy 11- Brian Latulipe, 5-10, 165, sophomore infielder, Plattsburgh/Plattsburgh 12- Colin Crawford, 5-9, 140, junior pitcher, Montgomery/Valley Central 14- Mat Chavez, 6-0, 155, freshman outfielder, Queens/Bishop Ford 15- John Casten, 5-6, 170 junior catcher, Walden/Valley Central 16- Kyle Kelly, 6-0, 185, senior pitcher, Glens Falls/Glens Falls 17- Mike Vargues, 5-11, 180, sophomore outfielder/shortstop, Gansevoort/Schuylerville 18- Mike Doughtie, 6-0, 165, senior pitcher, Castleton/Maple Hill 19- Luke Weaver, 5-10, 155 freshman outfielder, Plattsburgh/Beekmantown 20- Corey Grossman, 6-0, 190, sophomore pitcher, Wappinger Falls/John Jay East Fishkill 23- Steven Corea, 5-10, 203, senior pitcher, Valley Stream/Valley Stream South 24- Joe Leddy, 5-11, 155, junior pitcher, Goshen/Goshen 25- J.D. Springer, 5-11, 160, freshman second baseman, Altamont/Voorheesville 27- Rafael Ponce, 6-1, 175, sophomore pitcher, Bronx/Manhattan Center for Science and Math 28- Ross Levinson, 5-10, 150, freshman pitcher, Monroe/Monroe-Woodbury 29- Ethan Kisielis, 5-10, 190, freshman third baseman, Fort Johnson/Amsterdam 30- Mike Mulvihill, 6-0, 187, senior outfielder, Greenlawn/John Glenn 31- Scott Orr, 6-2, 200, freshman pitcher, Baldwinsville/Baldwinsville 32- Ben Weightman, 6-0, 200, freshman utility, Cadyville/Saranac 33- Brian Burns, 6-1, 175, senior pitcher, Ellenville/Ellenville 35- Kevin Briggs, 5-11, 180, freshman catcher, Stormville/Arlington 44- Chris Pescetti, 5-11, 205, sophomore, Saratoga Springs/Saratoga Catholic 45- Casey Brighton, 5-11, 214, senior catcher, Hyde Park, Vt./Lamoille Union 50- Marc Plante, 6-1, 200, senior pitcher, Massena/Kent School, Conn. Head coach: Kris Doorey Assistant coaches: Matt Rodovick, Kris Cauchon, Gary Butler -- 2013 schedule Diamond Nation Tournament Saturday, February 23- King's College, Flemington, N.J., 10 a.m. Saturday, February 23- St. John Fisher College, Flemington, N.J., 4 p.m. SUNYAC/Skyline Challenge Friday, March 8- at The College of Old Westbury, Old Westbury, 1 p.m. Saturday, March 9- at St. Joseph's College (2), Patchogue, noon Sunday, March 10- at Farmingdale State College, Farmingdale, noon RussMatt Invitational Winter Haven, Florida Sunday, March 17- Washington and Jefferson College (2), 2 p.m. Monday, March 18- Allegheny College (2), 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 19- Hamilton College (2), noon Thursday, March 21- Framingham State College, 11 a.m. Friday, March 22- Fredonia State (2), 11 a.m. Saturday, March 23- Fredonia State, noon Northern schedule Tuesday, March 26- Lyndon State College, Vt. (2), Chip Cummings Field, 2 p.m. Friday, March 29- Cortland State, Chip Cummings Field, 3 p.m. Saturday, March 30- Cortland State (2), Chip Cummings Field, noon Friday, April 5- at Oneonta State, 3 p.m. Saturday, April 6- at Oneonta State (2), noon Tuesday, April 9- Middlebury, Vt., Chip Cummings Field, 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 10- Clarkson University, Chip Cummings Field, 3:30 p.m. Friday, April 12- at The College of Brockport, 3 p.m. Saturday, April 13- at The College of Brockport (2), noon Tuesday, April 16- at St. Lawrence University, 4 p.m. Wednesday, April 17- at Norwich University, 3:30 p.m. Friday, April 19- at New Paltz, 3 p.m. Saturday, April 20- at New Paltz (2), noon Tuesday, April 23- Skidmore College, Chip Cummings Field, 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 24- Union College, Chip Cummings Field, 3:30 p.m. Friday, April 26- Oswego State, Chip Cummings Field, 3 p.m. Saturday, April 27- Oswego State (2), Chip Cummings Field, noon Tuesday, April 30- SUNY Canton, Chip Cummings Field, 3:30 p.m.