Jack Loennecker – Layout Editor
Centerfielder Mike Abate is always at the top of the lineup for the William Paterson University baseball team. In a game against Farmingdale State College Abate led off with an infield single bolting up the first base line to beat out the throw. He is a reliable man to put on top of the lineup and someone coach Mike Lauterhahn entrusts to lead his team.
On a team without an official designated captain, Abate is one of the key figures. Being a team leader is a huge responsibility for any sport. A team leader, whether it be player or coach, is the guy that teammates rally behind as they strive to achieve their goals for the season. Players that are team leaders can be captains or they can be a teammate that leaves everything out there during every game. Abate’s ability to lead this team has earned him some praise from his head coach.
“He brings some leadership to the table and he’s done a solid job in the leadoff spot for us,” Lauterhahn said.
Abate, a 22-year-old senior from Wayne, is not the type to give the team fiery speeches in the dugout but rather leading by example for his teammates and trying his hardest out on the field. Abate hopes that the standards he sets whenever he’s out on Jeff Albies Field rubs off on his teammates, especially the under classmen.
“As a senior, you try to make a good example for the younger kids so eventually when they’re upper classmen they can lead,” Abate said.
A part of the baseball team since 2014, Abate had many good things to say about the program and the people who run it.
“There’s a lot of good things that go into it,” Abate said, “The field’s awesome, the coaches really let you play, there’s really no pressure and everyone believes in you, so it’s nice to go out there and do your thing. It’s a fun environment to play in.”
Abate has been playing baseball since he was five years old. His favorite baseball memory was when he was awarded the gold glove by the American Baseball Coaches Association last year. Abate described winning the award as an exciting time for him and his family.
The bar is set high for the Pioneers in the upcoming season but Abate certainly has confidence in his teammates that they can get the job done.
“Right now, we’re just taking it one game at a time,” Abate said, “I really like the team we have, everyone is very unselfish, determined and focused so if we can go in and just focus and do what we’re supposed to do each practice and each game I think we’ll at the end of the year put ourselves in a good position to make a run at a playoff and a regional.”