West Palm Beach Knights 2022 Season Preview
The West Palm Beach Knights are set to begin their fourth season in the South Florida Collegiate Baseball league. To recap last year, the Knights were 12–16 with ten games remaining, but finished 2–8 and completed the season with a 14–24 record. Even though there was a disappointing finish to the year, The Knights are more motivated than ever to bounce back and return to the postseason after making it their first two years in the SFCBL.
Manager Sam Martin is headed into his third season with the Knights. Although Martin is gaining more experience with the team, he realizes there are still challenges that come with the position. “Summer baseball is a very tough riddle to crack. As a manager, I only get six weeks with these guys, so to get these guys to buy into my philosophies is a very hard thing to do,” Martin wrote. In his first season as manager, the Knights made a playoff appearance, and although that wasn’t followed up in 2021, Martin believes the team can return to their winning ways for many reasons, one being their facilities. “Being at Keiser along with being able to use Out of the Park down the street is going to allow our guys to feel comfortable when they are working and hopefully we’ll be able to put in much higher quality of work this summer.” Martin then went on to talk about the roster and the talent he sees on it. “We have strong mix of young talented players from big name universities and guys from lower divisions that have played a lot of college winning baseball.”
One of those players is infielder Dominik Ramil, who is returning for his second season with the Knights. Last season in 27 games played, Ramil finished with a .268 batting average and was the home run leader for the Knights while also finishing with 7 RBI’s. Ramil expressed his excitement to get the season underway and continue the momentum he had last season. “After having a strong summer against good competition last year, I’m really looking forward to facing that same quality competition again and getting things underway.”
Another position to keep note of is the pitching, notably Brad Skinner, a left-handed pitcher from Keiser University, who is returning to the Knights for his third season. Skinner started eight games in the 2021 season, and had a team high in strikeouts with 30 along with 3 wins. “I want to do my part to help this team win games and personally get back to the All-Star game,” Skinner said. Skinner also began coaching in his second year, and looks to improve in that area as well. “I want to improve on getting to know each member of this team and doing my best to help them become the best players they can be.” Skinner is going into the season with big expectations and has his eyes on the prize. “I’m very excited for this third season and ready to claim our first championship.”
As for newcomers, outfielder Tommy Easley, who is heading into his senior year at Alabama A&M, expressed his excitement to be with the Knights and is looking forward to contribute in a positive way. “I want to impact the team in any way that will help us win games and make it to the postseason.” In his Junior year at Alabama A&M, in 25 games played, Easley finished with a .330 batting average, third highest on the team, while also ranking fourth in slugging percentage at .462. But Easley is looking to make an impact not only with his play, but with his experience and leadership. “Being an upcoming Senior, if I could help the younger guys in any way possible I’d love to do that as well.” With nine freshman and twelve sophomore’s on the roster, it is always key to have leadership from upperclassman who can give valuable advice as the season progresses.
With a good blend of returners and hungry first year members, the West Palm Beach Knights are headed into the 2022 season with expectations of having a winning season and a postseason appearance. The goals are set, and now it’s time to produce, with the season beginning June 3rd against the Florida Pokers at Keiser University.
Update: due to the rain over the weekend, opening day will now be on Monday, June 6, versus the Phipps Park Barracudas at Keiser.