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The Niagara University baseball team is shown at the fall alumni game.
The Niagara University baseball team is shown at the fall alumni game.

Unveiling future potential: NU baseball season preview

Thu, Dec 7th 2023 11:45 am

By Tommy Takayoshi

Special to Niagara Frontier Publications

As the semester winds down and the university makes its way into the winter break, the students, faculty and staff cannot wait for what’s to come in the spring season for Niagara athletics.

The Niagara baseball team is ready to hit the ground running, coming back from break as it ramps up for the spring season and gets ready for the long road to Omaha.

Looking in the Past

For the 2023 season, Niagara baseball finished with a conference record of 14-10, as well as getting their ticket punched to play in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. Unfortunately, the trip was a short run, as the Purple Eagles went two and out against Quinnipiac University and Canisius University.

With that being said, after a really strong fall, the team is going into this year with a chip on its shoulder and looking to take the MAAC title back to Lewiston. Meet some of the players you’ll see this year on the diamond.

Kelly Corl – Senior, Middle Infielder

Leading off is senior infielder Kelly Corl, coming all the way from Scottsdale, Arizona. He is looking to make a name for himself after a really strong Junior campaign. Corl made 44 starts in 2023, and hit .326 with a .451 slugging percentage and a .383 OBP. He also hit four home runs and drove in 33 runs.

In an interview with Corl, he had this to say about the team.

Q: Kelly, how are you currently feeling with the team so far this year?

A: We've got a great group of guys this year – a mix of seasoned players and talented newcomers. Our chemistry is stronger than ever, and I believe that will be a game-changer on the field.

Personally, I'm focusing on being a leader for the younger players and making impactful plays in the infield and the box to contribute to our success as a team.

Q: What have you been working on as you get ready to suit up for the season?

A: As of lately, I have really held a focal point on using the whole field when I’m hitting. I feel like that will lead to a lot of success and consistency for my at-bats in the future, and working on my defense as well.

Q: I heard you played on the same team as Brady Kobitowich and Tommy Takayoshi in Edmonton this summer. Can you tell me a little bit about what that like playing alongside two teammates in a different country?

A: Absolutely; playing alongside Brady and Tommy in Edmonton this summer was an incredible experience. The River Hawks took really good care of the players, and the fans made it a great atmosphere. Brady and Tommy bring a lot to the table, not just in terms of their skills, but they’re also just great guys and were a lot of fun to be around.

Liam Reynolds – Senior, Right-Handed Pitcher

Liam Reynolds is a local product, coming from Trumansburg, and he has been a big piece of the puzzle when it comes to helping shut down opposing offenses when it comes to coming out of the bullpen. In his 2023 campaign, went 1-1 in 13 appearances out of the bullpen and struck out 16 batters, while opposing hitters had a .200 average in 15.1 innings. He had nine outings in which he did not allow a run, and seven outings in which he did not allow a hit. Needless to say, Reynolds was effective coming out of the bullpen in short and long relief situations.

In an interview with the big righty, he had this to say about the goals this year.

Q: Liam, how are you feeling about this year’s group?

A: I am feeling really optimistic about this year. We have a really good group of hardworking, blue-collar and down-to-earth guys that I love being around, and I think everyone on that roster can say the exact same thing. It’s been awesome just going to the clubhouse and just seeing the guys – that’s not something you find just anywhere.

Q: What has been the primary focus of the offseason for you individually so far?

A: For me individually, first things first is to stay healthy. Something I believe in, as a bullpen pitcher, is your best ability is your availability; and I want to be ready to handle the workload of a guy that the team can use in any situation. When it comes to my skillset, I am really working on having pinpoint command with my fastball, as well as obtaining a good feel for my off-speed pitches.

Q: What would you say you are looking forward to the most about the season?

A: I am really looking forward to just get the season going, to keep competing with the guys, those long bus rides with the team, and just the everyday life of being in season in the spring.

Nick Monile – RS Freshman, Outfielder

The most intriguing player from this past fall season was young standout outfielder Nick Mobile. He had an amazing fall and was definitely the one of the most dangerous hitters stepping into that box. Monile redshirted in the spring of 2023 as a freshman and took the opportunity to learn as much as he could from the older guys – and it definitely showed this fall.

Mobile had this to say about the team.

Q: So, Nick, how are you feeling about the team this year?

A: We learned a lot from last year, and we're applying those lessons to elevate our team as a whole. The competition in the conference is good, but I think we're ready to do some damage. Our goal is not just to make it to the postseason, but to go deep and make a statement.

Q: If you could sum up this team in one word, what would it be and why?

A: I think the word that stands out to me is tough. We have a lot of pitchers that can really fill up the zone and are really competitive, and we also have a lot of hitters that are really tough outs – and there is a big saying in D1 baseball and that is the toughest team wins, and I think we got the group to do it.

Q: What would you say is something that can really take this team to the next level?

A: I think every team can use improvement in this, because it is something so small, but it can really help you win games – and that is baserunning. We ran the bases really well in the fall; we took a lot of extra 90s and advanced on a lot of dirtball reads, and those little things really add up and are really going to help us succeed in the long run.

Next Matchup – Richmond, Virginia

The Purple Eagles are lined up to open up the year on the road against the Richmond Spiders. Last year, the Spiders put together a conference record of 14-9 and finished fifth in the Atlantic 10 Conference. They had scheduled games against historic programs such as Alabama, West Virginia, St. John’s and North Carolina State. With that being said, it will be a great matchup to see if Niagara is battle-tested as it takes on the spring.


To wrap things up, as the Niagara University baseball team gears up for the 2024 season, the reminder of past challenges serve as motivation for its aspirations to win. The player spotlights on Kelly Corl, Liam Reynolds and Nick Monile provide a glimpse into the team's diverse strengths and commitment to improvement. With a blend of seasoned players and emerging talents, the Purple Eagles have a feel of toughness and grit that will undoubtedly define their unwritten story for this year.

The upcoming matchup against the Richmond Spiders sets the stage for what promises to be a compelling season. As the players prepare to face good teams, the lessons learned from the past – and the emphasis on teamwork, resilience and attention to detail – position Niagara University baseball for a shot at the MAAC ring. The road to Omaha is long, but with a chip on their shoulder, the Purple Eagles are ready to get after it and navigate the challenges ahead.


This is a Niagara University student-created piece completed as part of the course CMS 226A. For more information, contact the Niagara Frontier Publications’ managing editor.

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