BAY CITY, Mich. — The Great Lakes
Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) baseball coaches
selected Grand Valley State University to win the league title in
the 2014 GLIAC Baseball Preseason Poll.
The league’s head coaches participated in the balloting, but were not allowed to vote for their team.
GVSU finished on top of the 2014 GLIAC Preseason poll after claiming the 2013 GLIAC regular season championship with a 22-7 league record. The Lakers garnered 118 points and eight first-place votes.
2014 GLIAC Baseball
School (1st votes)
Grand Valley State (8)
Wayne State (2)
Saginaw Valley State
Wayne State University was picked to finish
second with 106 points and two first-place votes. Ashland
University placed third in the poll with 101 points and two
first-place vote, followed by Ohio Dominican with 90 points, in
Saginaw Valley State University collected 74 points, beating out Walsh University for fifth place with 62 points. Lake Erie College tallied 56 points to finish seventh in the poll. Tiffin University grabbed eighth place and tallied 51 points. Northwood University came in ninth and tallied 38 points, one point ahead of Malone University with 37.
Hillsdale College finished 11th with 30 points, followed by the University of Findlay in 12th (27 points).
This season, the GLIAC Baseball Tournament will be played at Athletes in Action Complex in Xenia, Ohio on May 8-11.
For more information about GLIAC baseball please visit the GLIAC baseball web page at: www.gliac.org.
The following are previews of all 12 GLIAC Baseball teams for the 2014 season.
-- The following are previews of all 12 GLIAC Baseball teams for the 2013 season --
Grand Valley State Lakers
Head Coach: Jamie Detillion
2014 Preseason Pick: 1st
OVERVIEW: Grand Valley State returns 20 players from a 2013 squad that finished third in NCAA Division II, coming within a game of playing for the national championship at the NCAA Division II Baseball National Finals. GVSU went 38-19 overall with a 22-7 record in the GLIAC, claiming the regular season conference title and winning the NCAA Division II Midwest Regional Tournament. The Lakers return nearly every major piece of the offense and will lean on a returning GLIAC Freshman of the Year to anchor the pitching staff, which posted some of the best numbers in the country in 2013.
The Laker infield returns two pre-season All-American picks,
including senior first baseman Giancarlo Brugnoni, who was an NCBWA
First Team Pre-Season All-American pick and enters the season tied
for the GVSU career record in home runs. Junior Kevin Zak, a
Collegiate Baseball Newspaper Midwest Region Pre-Season
All-American, returns along with senior Stuart Eisler, one of the
top defensive players in the country. Last season, Zak led the
GLIAC in hits (82) and was second in batting average en route to
being named a first team all-region selection by Daktronics and the
Juniors Mike Nadratowski and Jamie Potts anchor an outfield with a lot of speed and hitting ability. Potts was one of the top performers in Division II in last year’s postseason, earning Midwest Regional Tournament MVP honors and Second Team All-Region by the NCBWA. Nadratowski was the 2012 GLIAC Freshman of the Year.
Reigning GLIAC “Freshman of the Year” Patrick Kelly will anchor a pitching staff that brings in a lot of talented arms for the 2014 seasons. Kelly is a Pre-Season First Team All-Midwest Region pick by the NCBWA after going 8-3 with a 2.20 ERA and a .235 batting average against last season. Also returning for the Lakers will be seniors Sean Clancy, Dan Saier, Chris Ward and Cody Westerhuis in addition to newcomer Aaron Jensen
Head coach Jamie Detillion enters his second season at the helm of Grand Valley State after posting a 38-19 record in 2013 and a third-place finish at the Division II Baseball National Finals. In his first season as head coach, Detillion was named the GLIAC Coach of the Year and led the Lakers to their second-best finish in school history.
Wayne State Warriors
Head Coach: Ryan Kelley
2014 Preseason Pick: 2nd
OVERVIEW: In 2013, the Wayne State University baseball program won 30 or more games for the seventh time in school history and the fifth time in the last six years. The Warriors finished with a 21-10 GLIAC record and clinched a berth in the GLIAC Tournament for the ninth time in the last 10 years. However, WSU missed out on the NCAA Tournament after winning just one game at GLIAC Tournament. The team will return 20 letterwinners, five position players and three starting pitchers.
Sophomore middle-infielder Jermey Carrell, who was an Honorable Mention All-GLIAC selection last season will return after starting 44 games and hitting .315 last season. Junior left-handed pitcher/first-baseman Kyle Zimmerman also was an league honorable mention selection last season, hit .315 last season. Senior catcher Eric Cunningham will be the team’s primary backstop. Cunningham hit .312 in 49 starts last season while driving in 26 runs. Senior middle-infielder A.J. Matos saw action in 24 games last season. Sophomore third-baseman Daniel Peake started 22 games last season at third base.
Senior Chris Gebara will lead the returners in the outfield for
the Warriors. Gebara was third on the team last season with a
.325 average in his 48 games and drove in 33 runs.
Redshirt-sophomore Travis Rodery played in 20 games last
season, starting in 15 contests.
The rotation will be a point of interest during the offseason. The team’s top returning starter, sophomore righty Brandyn Hall went 4-2 last season with a 2.76 ERA Clayton Ruch returns as the team’s closer after saving 10 games in 2013. Brock Bates appeared in 12 games, going 2-0 with a 2.54 ERA. Newly added pitchers Hunter Van Maele, Chris Horvath and Tyler Tompson will look to make an impact as freshman.
Ryan Kelley (158-106), enters his sixth year at the helm in the
2014 season. Kelley is the ninth head coach in the 72-year history
of the Wayne State University baseball program. In 2013, Wayne
State won 30+ games for the fourth consecutive season and Coach
Kelley aided in the development of a senior class that won 134
games over the past four seasons and his .598 career winning
percentage leads all WSU baseball coaches.
Head Coach: John Schaly
2014 Preseason Pick: 3rd
OVERVIEW: The Eagles went 37-19 last season, won the GLIAC Tournament for the first time in program history, ended the regular season ranked first in the region and advanced to the NCAA Midwest Regional Tournament. AU went 1-2 in NCAA postseason action. This year’s team returns the bulk of the infield and two heavy hitters in the outfield. The challenge will be rebuilding the pitching staff.
This is the strongest area on the team and this unit could be one of the best in the region. Tyler Gray returns to first base. He’s a four-year starter and was a first team all-conference pick last season. Wade Kaido is back as the starting third baseman. Last season he hit .357 and had 35 RBI and was the MVP of the GLIAC Tournament. The starting shortstop is Austin Walts, who earned second team all-conference honors last season. At second base, Stephen James will be the starter. The Eagles have to sort out the situation at catcher where Kyle Brooks, Adam Murphy and Adam Vasil should all see playing time.
Alex Sortwell returns to patrol center field. A year ago, he was named First Team All-GLIAC when he hit .315 with eight homers and 40 RBI. Sortwell tied for second in the GLIAC in homers and was fourth in RBI. Mackenzie Hampshire was the starting designated hitter last season and this year, moves to left field. Nick Edwards will take over in right field. He played in 32 games a year ago, 17 as the starter.
The Eagles have one of the country’s best starters in Jake Baldwin. A year ago he was 8-0 with a 1.58 ERA. The right-hander was the GLIAC pitcher of the year, the region pitcher of the year and was a First Team All-American (Daktronics). He is a 2014 Preseason Second Team All-American (NCBWA). The Eagles are counting on newcomer Art Warren and Vince Frate to fill the two starting spots behind Baldwin.
Head coach John Schaly is 611-295-1 in 16 years at Ashland.
During that time he’s guided the Eagles to NCAA postseason
play 12 times and to the World Series four times. In 26 years as a
college head coach he is 974-507-1. Schaly needs 26 wins to reach
1,000. His late father, Don, won over 1,000 games as the head coach
at Marietta. The Schalys would become only the second father-son
combination at any level of college baseball to win 1,000 games
Ohio Dominican Panthers
Head Coach: Paul Page
2014 Preseason Pick: 4th
OVERVIEW: A young Panther team that won two games in the GLIAC Tournament despite featuring just one senior in the starting lineup will look to take the next step forward in 2014. The team’s top five hitters return to the squad, as does the team’s top three pitchers in terms of ERA. A solid recruiting class has yielded several freshmen and a transfer who have the potential to break into the lineup and contribute.
The Panthers will have a new look up the middle, with senior Drew Ryan, a transfer from Urbana where he earned all-region honors at second base. Several freshmen are in the mix for playing time at shortstop, including Kyle Burson and Tony Evans. Sophomore Jacob Horsley (.276, 1 HR, 17 RBI) came on strong at the end of the year, being named to the GLIAC All-Tournament Team, and has moved to third base. First Team All-GLIAC pick Anthony Raschilla (.320, 2 HR, 22 RBI) will see time at first base. Second Team All-GLIAC performer in junior Kyle Tisdale (.310, 2 HR, 39 RBI) returns at catcher.
The Panthers have loads of speed in the outfield, returning their all three of their starters, including senior all-conference selection Jossue Delgado in center. He batted .325 with 14 steals last season. In left field, senior Bryan Rudolph (.245, 2 HR, 19 RBI) returns, while junior Marcus Schluessler (.296, .425 OBP) is back in right field. Junior Matt Jurevicius will also vie for time in the outfield as well, as will junior Kyle Suminski.
All-conference selection Daniel Mooney, a junior, is back in the rotation for ODU. Mooney went 6-6 with a 3.69 ERA and ranked amongst the GLIAC’s best with 62 strikeouts last year. Senior Sean Blackburn (4-6, 3.88) made eight starts and returns, as does senior Alex Borgan, who both started and relieved last year and had 42 strikeouts last year. Sophomore Austin Bueter, who led the team with a 3.80 ERA in 2012.. Junior Vince Bartolone, who has yet to allow an earned run in 31.0 innings the last two seasons, will anchor the back of the bullpen.
Paul Page enters his 27th season leading Ohio Dominican’s
baseball team. He has a career-record of 932-480-6 and left the
NAIA ranks as one of the game’s all-time winningest managers.
Saginaw Valley State Cardinals
Head Coach: Walt Head
2014 Preaseason Pick: 5th
OVERVIEW: The Saginaw Valley State University baseball team looks to bounce back from a 2013 season that saw the Cardinals post a 16-24 overall record and 14-14 mark in GLIAC play, falling in the team’s first two games of the GLIAC Tournament. With only four seniors on the roster for 2014, SVSU will rely heavily on youth to carry the majority of the load.
Junior Chris Perkovich and sophomore DylinEschenburg return to shore-up the middle of the Cardinal infield. Eschenburg batted .325 while starting 38 of 40 games as a freshman, recording 40 hits, six doubles, 11 RBI while hitting one home run and scoring 24 times. Perkovich hit .275 with four home runs, three doubles, 18 runs and 25 RBI, which was second on the team. The duo combined for a .942 fielding percentage on 328 total chances, committing only 19 errors.
Roaming center field this spring for Saginaw Valley will be the team’s leading hitter, junior Brad Schalk. Schalk posted a .347 batting average while starting all 40 games, pounding-out a team-high 52 hits, six doubles, one triple, one home run. He added 26 runs scored, 15 RBI and 15 walks. BesideSchalk in left field will be senior Michael Craig. Craig hit .280 last year, registering a double, 23 runs scored and 11 RBI in 35 games.
The Cardinals will be without a pair of key pitchers due to injury this year, as starter Scott Sency and reliever Andrew Tidwell will be out due to arm injuries. Junior lefty Andrew Geese returns as a starter after posting a 2-3 record last year in five starts while sophomore Dylan Wisniewski looks to build on last year’s 3-1 record he posted in six 2013 starts. Geese had 24 strikeouts last year while Wisniewski posted 22. Senior lefty Aaron Woods returns as well in a reliever role after posting a team-leading 2.00 era last season in 12 relief appearances, posting 22 strikeouts and allowing just six earned runs in 27.0 innings of work.
Walt Head returns for his 32nd season as the head coach of the
SVSU baseball program. The team has compiled an 860-630-6
career record under his tutelage, as all 32 years of his coaching
tenure have been with SVSU. The Cardinals have qualified for
the last four GLIAC Postseason tournaments.
Head Coach: Tim Mead
2014 Preseason Pick: 6th
OVERVIEW: Walsh returns 22 letter winners from 2013. The Cavs finished 22-22 overall, and 14-17 in the GLIAC. This spring, they are eligible for the post season for the first time as a full-fledged member of NCAA ll. Veteran coach Tim Mead (651-702) is in 30th year at Walsh.
The Cavs will have plenty of new faces in the infield, as only one starter returns from 2013. The anchor of the infield is veteran shortstop Sam Fondriest. He has good range and an outstanding arm. Fondriest will have a new double play partner in 2014 in junior Jordan Shank. The sure-handed Shank started 10 games at second base last year. The Cavs are in good hands at second base, as former outfielder Drew Link has moved into the infield. Link hit .255 last year. The corners will have a new look, with John Stephenson at first base and Brook Clark at third base.
The outfield returns two veterans and adds a transfer to the mix. Justin Clements moves from centerfield to leftfield. Clements his .305 last year and led the team with 11 doubles. University of Akron transfer Jason McPeek will patrol centerfield. Clements and McPeek have speed to burn, and can turn many sure hits into outs. Honorable mention All-GLIAC right-fielder Andrew. Bonnette possesses one of the strongest arms in the GLIAC. Adding depth will be Jake Palidar, Kolton Snyder, Nate Stuntz, and Link (RF), whose versatility makes him one of the most valuable players on the roster. Senior Mike Lee returns behind the plate.
The Cavs’ deep staff will be put to the test, after number one starter Ian Drapcho was hit in the jaw with a line drive and will be out for four to six weeks. Drapcho was 3-1 with a 2.54 ERA last year. But deep is the word for the Cavs, as they return Joe Tann, Brandon Whitslar and Jared Bettura. Tann is completely healthy after batting shoulder issues and should eat innings. Whitslar tied for the team lead with four wins, and Bettura looks ready to come into his own. The staff also gets a shot in the arm from Ohio State University transfer Logan Bowles, who will step into the rotation. The only left-hander currently in the rotation is redshirt-freshman Matt. Neal Edwards returns in his closer role. Edwards saved eight games last year, with a 2.81 ERA. Look for lefty Kyle Ward and outfielder Jason McPeek (RHP) in short relief.
Lake Erie Storm
Head Coach: Brian McGee
2014 Preseason Pick: 7th
OVERVIEW: Lake Erie went 18-30 a year ago and played .438 ball (14-18) in league play. LEC was solid at home (9-8) and in neutral-site games (3-4), under Brian McGee who is in his seventth season at the Helm and is 135-203 all time at Lake Erie. The Storm struggled in road games (6-18). Lake Erie struggled through a number of key injuries but righted the ship toward the end of the season. The Green & White went 6-2 in their last eight regular-season games and qualified for GLIAC postseason play. This year’s squad returns seven starting position players and four starting pitchers.
Infield: Rutger Luebke and Dylan Yankle are expected to share the catching duties for the 2014 Storm. Both logged over 25 games a year ago. Around the horn from third-to-first will be Zack DeCamp, Sean Mathews, Josh Hudeck and Lou Peterlin. All have collegiate experience. Of that quartet only Hudeck batted under .300 last season, and he posted an on-base percentage of .385, which paved the way to 28 runs scored (second on the team). DeCamp had 16 extra-base hits (11 doubles, five home runs) a year ago. Mathews is a slick-fielding shortstop who batted .343 (24-of-70) ion limited time last season.
Outfield: From left-to-right, Lake Erie will trot out the athletic trio of Lucas Raley, Aaron Lindgren and Garrett Emling. All three can run down the baseball and produce at the plate as well. Raley is a well-regarded freshman, Lindgren led the squad in extra-base hits last year (17: five doubles, four triples, eight home runs), and Emling can provide consistent production in right field and at the plate.
Seniors Brad Raley and Brian Kilway will likely form LEC’s top pair in the starting rotation. Raley – the older brother of left fielder Lucas – posted a 4.21 ERA in 47 innings a year ago. The 6-foot-4 right-hander struck out 11.5 batters per nine in 2013. Raley and Kilway will likely be followed by juniors Russ Hogue (3.47 ERA in swingman duties last season) and Heath Kelley. Kelley is the lone left-hander among the starting rotation; he notched a fine 2.01 ERA in one start and 17 relief appearances last year. Senior D.J Stastny and junior Brandon Grunda figure as the top left-right combination out of the Storm bullpen. LEC posted a 5.61 ERA in 2013
Head Coach: Joe Wilkins
2014 Preseason Pick: 8th
OVERVIEW: In 2012, Tiffin caught fire over the last three weeks to qualify for the GLIAC tournament. Last season, the Dragons flipped the table. After an 8-13 start, TU won seven of their next eight games to move to fourth in the GLIAC. A 5-15 finish kept the Dragons out of the playoffs. Head coach Joe Wilkins enters his second season in 2014 with an interesting situation. The Dragons have a fair amount of experience with 17 letterwinners returning. That is tempered by the fact that four of the top five hitters and the top three pitchers in term of ERA are gone.
Senior Mario Rodriguez in 16 games, he batted .324 and was solid defensively with no passed balls. Sophomore Anthony Dodds and freshman Zach Coffield will challenge for time as well.
Juniors Nick Calandra and Nick Hueneburg return after extensive starting time. Calandra (44 gms-43 starts) scored 18 runs, drove in 26 runs. Hueneburg (41 gms-34 starts) had 11 extra base hits, drove in 21 runs and batted .296. A pair of junior transfers, Dan Priore and Cody Spires, look to make an immediate impact. Priore is patient at the plate and is a strong defensive player. Spires had solid power and pitched as well at Shawnee State.
Sophomores Cole McCurry and Garrett Vernau are the mainstays of this unit. McCurry scored 25 runs andVernau is a clutch hitter with a strong arm. Sophomore Jordan Widman played in 28 games in 2014 and looks to challenge for playing time. Freshman Devon Fisk was an all-conference selection at Pickerington Central HS (Ohio) who has power and speed.
On the mound, TU has four players who threw in at least nine
games back. Senior Joe Perretta made 10 appearances and threw
36 innings. Senior Kevin Kline and sophomore Logan Sendelbach
return as well. Kline had a 3.65 ERA in 11 games while
Sendelbach was 2-1 with a 3.65 ERA in 37.7 innings. Freshmen Kyle
Pluta and Dan Sexton will be in the mix for time on the
mound. Pluta earned all-region honors and helped his team
reach the Division I State Championship game. Sexton was
Central Ohio Pitcher of the Year as he was 10-1 with a 0.75
ERA. Junior Seth Licke brings collegiate experience as he
threw at Elgin CC.
Head Coach: Joe DiBenedetto
2014 Preseason Pick: 9th
OVERVIEW: The Northwood baseball team is looking to take a step forward in the 2014 season coming off a 17-26 overall record a year ago. The Timberwolves went 12-19 in the GLIAC, which placed them 11th in the conference.
Northwood brings back three of its four primary infielders from a year ago. Eric Altman batted .304 at first base, while Cody Rogers hit .299 at second base. Dustin Lee turned in a strong freshman season at shortstop, ending the year with a team-high .325 average. Other players who should see time in the infield include Larsen Cronkright, Tyler Beatty and Wayne Moak. NU also brings back its top two catchers from a year ago in Anthony DiPaolo and Zyke Bailey.
The leader of the outfield a year ago, Jake Oard, graduated after an All-GLIAC season. Northwood will look to replace Oard with a mixture of youth and experience. Travis Smith and Andrew Fleming each were key players at the corner outfield positions a year ago, while Zac Zoellner also appeared in 33 games last season. A large group of newcomers will also be looking to break into the lineup, led by Justin Zyvon, Eric Cotton, Steve Suriano, Matt McCready and Brian Sorensen.
Northwood brings back a large group from a year ago, led by senior Jake Winicki, who led the team in almost every pitching category a year ago. Andrew Joseph and Steven Latos also return after combining to make 14 starts a year ago. Jordan Schwellenbach led the team in appearances a year ago and was a key part of the bullpen. Other returners include Adam Krool, Sean Cunningham, Kevin Fisher and Zac Zoellner.
Joe Di Benedetto is now in his 15th season as the head coach of
Northwood. He has posted a 283-400 record as the coach of the
Head Coach: Tom Cranks
2014 Preseason Pick: 10th
OVERVIEW: After a slow start last spring, the Malone University baseball team won 13 of its final 21 games to finish the 2013 season with a 22-26 record and a 15-18 mark in GLIAC play. The Pioneers return all but one starting position player from last year’s team, who happens to be leading hitter Bob Suitca. However, without much pitching experience on its roster, Malone will need to develop some of its young arms if it hopes to carry over last year’s momentum into 2014
Head coach Tom Crank will once again guide the Pioneers as he embarks on his 11th season. He owns an impressive 323-217-1 career record (.598%), leading the Pioneers to a NCCAA World Series Championship in 2006.
Senior Logan Gray, junior Tyler Eagon, sophomores Bryce Miller and Jon Crank and catching duo Hayden Mobley and Matt Davis are all returning starters in the infield. Crank led the bunch with a .277 batting average, while Mobley finished second on the team with 30 rbi’s.
The outfield platoon will be split between returning senior Michael Chack and returning sophomores Daulton Ritter, Austin Pachan, and Keanan Locke. Locke hit .304 as a freshman, the second highest average on the team, while Chack ranked third at .296.
Senior Taylore Baker enters 2014 considered the team’s ace
on the hill after breaking out with a 5-1 record in eight starts a
year ago. Sophomore Matt Litty battled injuries in 2013 but returns
to 2014 healthy and will be expected to contribute to the Malone
pitching staff in a big way. Freshman Gary Lawrence is another key
member of the Pioneer rotation after redshirting in 2013.
Experienced senior Jack McDonald will also be counted on for
Head Coach: Eric Thiesen
2014 Preseason Pick: 11th
OVERVIEW: Eric Theisen takes over as the new head coach of the Hillsdale College baseball program in 2014. He served as an assistant coach/pitching coach for the past three season. He takes over for Paul Noce, who stepped down after 20 seasons.and in that time the pitching staff’s earned run average dropped by a run each season. Since his college graduation, he was in spring training with the Traverse City Beach Bums, an independent professional team. After independent ball, he traveled to Belgium to play for the Brussels Kangaroos. He then transitioned into coaching, where he spent time with the Battle Creek Bombers, and was the pitching coach at Siena Heights University from 2008-10. Theisen becomes just the fifth head baseball coach at Hillsdale College in the past 30 years. He is a second-generation college head coach, joining his father who has coached college baseball in the state of Michigan for 25 years.
In 2014, the Chargers return a young, but experienced squad, with four starting pitchers coming back and seven infielders and outfielders returning. The most experienced returning starting pitchers are senior Matthew Reck, junior Shane Armstrong and sophomore Lucas Hamelink.
At the plate, junior Vinny Delicata and sophomores Luke Ortel
and Connor Bartlett will lead a lineup that will be deep and
well-balanced. Freshmen Ethan Wiskur and Jake Lee also figure to
make an impact in the field and on the mound.
Head Coach: Stephen Parrill
2014 Preseason Pick: 12th
OVERVIEW: The University of Findlay baseball team posted a 19-26 record last year, which included a 12-22 mark in conference play. The team was hit hard by graduation and will be counting on some younger players to produce during the 2014 campaign.
Senior shortstop Reid Rothenbuhler will return to lead the Oilers infield in 2014. Rothenbuhler earned honorable mention all-conference accolades last year for Findlay when he hit .333 with 15 doubles and 33 runs batted in. Seniors Dylan Cintula and Joe Sickler will also return to lead the infield group as they combined to make 82 starts last season for Findlay.
The Oilers will have to make up for the loss of honorable mention All-American, Blake Schmenk, in the outfield in 2014. The Oilers will have a number of players battling it out for spots on the depth chart in the spring.
Seniors Drew Hargrove and Derek Draper will anchor the Oilers pitching staff in 2014. Hargrove made six starts for Findlay in 2013 and finished third on the team with 51.1 innings pitched. Draper meanwhile has dealt with some injuries during his career, but appears to be fully healthy for 2014. He made two starts for Findlay in 2013 and struck out 14 batters in 11 innings of work as a junior.
Steve Parrill will be entering his first year as the head coach
of the Oilers. He has previously been an assistant coach at
the University of Toledo, Indiana University and Bowling Green