Ave Maria University begins its first season of baseball this year, under the leadership of Shawn Summe (soo-mee), a former head coach of Judson College in Elgin, Illinois. If the past truly is prologue, the AMU Gyrenes have a lot of good things to anticipate. In his first season at the helm of Judson, the Eagles set 12 offensive records.
This season Coach Summe will field a 25-man roster of 9 pitchers, 3 catchers, and 13 position players. But, remember, this is college baseball. “We hope to expand our pitching staff to between 12 and 15 arms,” he states. “A lot of our pitchers double as position players. “
The ace of the AMU staff is right-hander Justin James. At 6’1”, 200 pounds, he’s small as pitchers go these days. But he sports a thoroughbred athletic bloodline; his parents are the former Mr. & Mrs. California, with dad Gerry an accomplished weightlifter and golf long-driving champ.
With weekend schedules that are a mix of single games and double-headers, availability will determine the makeup of the team’s relief core.
Definitely, centerfielder Chris Suchomski (the team’s only senior), has the best glove on the team, with good coverage capability aided by a “very adequate” arm. The Gyrenes’ infield is solid, with junior second baseman Brian Trymbliski – a transfer from Pitt – the unofficial leader.
With over half of AMU’s roster (13) consisting of freshmen, Coach Summe has a nucleus on which to build and improve the Gyrenes over the next four years. And that coincides with his overall goal for the team, “…to improve both the team and the game of baseball every day.”
AMU currently is an NAIA independent, with plans to join the Sun Conference next season.