The first of February and the start of the 2003 St. Mary’s baseball campaign are not that far away. The Rattlers, the defending Heartland Conference Champions, kick things off at home by hosting the Woodfield Suites Invitational, Feb. 1-3.
St. Mary’s has over 20 home dates this season, including the opening weekend, several home doubleheaders and the 2003 Heartland Conference Tournament.
The Woodfield Suites Invitational will bring several of the top teams from D-II’s South Central Region to campus; St. Edward’s, Eastern New Mexico, New Mexico Highlands and Tarleton State will join the Rattlers. And as is the Rattler tradition, the month of March continues as the St. Mary’s baseball fan’s favorite month. This season St. Mary’s has 13 home dates and 2 road dates. This year the Rattlers welcome Oklahoma Panhandle State and Dallas Baptist to the Heartland Conference lineup by traveling to OPSU at the end of March and hosting DBU in mid-April. The Rattlers close out the regular season on April 30 versus D-I Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. The conference tournament returns to V.J. Keefe Memorial Stadium on May 8-10.
This year the Rattlers will look to the leadership of its six seniors: pitcher Chris Camarillo, pitcher J.R. Wolfe, outfielder Luke Pantuso, outfielder Ricky Bonilla, third baseman Justin Willman, and pitcher Carlos Tristan. All, except for Bonilla, were members of the 2001 Division II National Champions squad. Bonilla joined the Rattlers as a transfer last season. Nine freshmen join the St. Mary’s roster, including shortstop Ryan Hill from San Antonio’s Reagan High School and walk-on freshman pitcher Troy Arrendondo, from San Antonio Burbank, who Migl says, “just gets people out.”
The Rattlers are coached by Charlie Migl and assistant coach Chris Ermis. Migl is in his 17th year as head coach of his alma mater; he was a two-time all-conference starter for St. Mary’s (1975, 1977.) The winningest coach in St. Mary’s athletics history, his 16-year record of 586-260 includes one Big State Conference title, seven Heart of Texas Conference titles, one Heartland Conference title, two NAIA District IV titles, three NAIA Area II titles, one D-II regional title and the 2001 NCAA D-II National Championship. Migl coached the Rattlers to three of their four NAIA College World Series appearances (1993, 1995, 1996). Ermis, another Rattler-ex and a former minor-leaguer, was named the interim assistant coach this January after several seasons as a volunteer bullpen coach and first-base coach for St. Mary’s.