2015 GLIAC BASEBALL SOUTH DIVISION TEAM PREVIEWS
Head Coach: John Schaly - 18th Season
2015 South Preseason Pick: 1st (55 points - 7 First-Place Votes)
Ashland University head baseball coach John Schaly needs just two wins to reach the 1,000-win plateau – joining his late father, Don, as the only father-son combination to each win 1,000 games at a four-year institution.
Offensively, the Eagles will return senior shortstop Austin Walts, a second-team All-GLIAC selection who hit .384 with 11 doubles, 11 stolen bases and 29 RBI in 2014, and junior first baseman/outfielder Mackenzie Hampshire, also a conference second-teamer last season after hitting .354 with four home runs, nine doubles and a team-high 42 RBI.
Ashland welcomes back GLIAC honorable mention choices Vince Frate (senior, 8-5, 4.13 ERA) and Alex Smith (junior, 7-5, 3.84) to the mound, and also will get back junior Jake Baldwin, the 2013 GLIAC Pitcher of the Year who is coming off injury.
Lake Erie Storm
Head Coach: Brian McGee - 8th Season
2015 South Preseason Pick: 2nd (49 points, 3 First-Place Votes)
After their most successful season to date in 2014, the Storm baseball team has high hopes for 2015. Last season, the Storm finished with a 33-22 record and their first appearance in the NCAA Midwest Regionals. Luke Raley returns for the Storm after being named GLIAC Freshman of the Year and earning All-Midwest Region honors last year. Raley hit .353 with 65 hits, nine homeruns and 46 RBI. Zak DeCamp and Heath Kelley are also back for the Storm after earning All-GLIAC accolades last season. DeCamp hit .306 last season with 28 RBI. Kelley had a 2.85 era in 66.1 innings. The Storm pitching staff also returns senior Russ Hogue. Hogue compiled a 4.26 ERA over 62.2 innings.
The Storm welcome 11 freshmen to the team this year in Head Coach Brian McGee’s eighth season.
Ohio Dominican Panthers
Head Coach: Paul Page - 27th Season
2015 South Preseason Pick: 3rd (44 points - 2 First-Place Votes)
Ohio Dominican’s baseball team, led by nine seniors, will look to return to the GLIAC Tournament this spring after narrowly missing out on a postseason bid in 2014.
ODU returns several starting pitchers, including senior Alberto Canales (3-3, 3.68 ERA), senior Ryan Bidwell (3-2, 4.41 ERA) and junior Ryan Colegate (3-5, 3.93 ERA). The Panther rotation will also be bolstered by the return of redshirt junior Daniel Mooney along with several freshmen who can contribute innings immediately. In the bullpen, senior Vince Bartolone returns as the closer. He has a 7-4 record with eight saves and a miniscule 0.69 ERA in 52.1 innings in his career.
The offense is led by All-GLIAC performer in senior catcher Kyle Tisdale, who batted .293 with 23 RBI and threw out 21 would-be basestealers last year. Also back is junior Jacob Horsley, a 2013 All-GLIAC Tournament selection at third base, and sophomores Kyle Burson and Tony Evans in the middle of the infield. The outfield will have some new faces following the graduation of all-conference performers Jossue Delgado and Bryan Rudolph, but senior Marcus Schluessler returns from injury this spring.
Head Coach: Joe Wilkins - 3rd Season
2015 South Preseason Pick: 4th (32 points)
The Tiffin University Dragons are led by Head Coach Joe Wilkins in his third season at the helm. The Dragons finished the 2013-14 campaign 17-33 overall and 16-15 in GLIAC play. The Dragons reached the GLIAC Tournament for only the second time in school history. Tiffin used outstanding starting pitching to lead the charge. The pitching staff saw its ERA drop from 4.24 in 2013 to 3.82 in 2014. The Dragons will look to build on last season and will do so with experience and veteran leadership. Tiffin returns all offensive players from last season, four starting pitchers, and five relievers.
The Dragons bring back four All-GLIAC performers. Garrett Vernau earned 1st team All-GLIAC last season as a sophomore. He finished with a .326 batting average, 4 home runs, 18 RBIs, and 29 stolen bases. One of the most impressive statistics about Vernau is that he only committed one error in his 50 starts. The southpaw, Tyler Nichols, was a 2nd team All-GLIAC selection last season. The junior returns after compiling a minuscule 2.05 ERA in 48 1/3 innings pitched. Nichols only surrendered a .217 opponent batting average and hurled two complete game shutouts. Logan Sendelbach received All-GLIAC Honorable Mention as a junior last season. The senior returns after pitching a team high 64 2/3 innings. Logan would post a 3.82 ERA last season, and tossed five complete games. Cody Spires earned All-GLIAC Honorable Mention last season for the Dragons. The senior hit .309 last year, but dominated conference pitching, batting .398 in GLIAC play. Spires knocked in 22 runs, smacking two home runs, seven doubles, and three triples.
The Dragons have added reinforcements to his lineup for the 2014-15 journey. Devin Ambrose joins the Dragons after a two-year stint at Waubonsee Community College. Ambrose was a key contributor to a Chiefs squad that finished 4th at the NJCAA Division III World Series. During the season, Ambrose posted a .309 average with 55 hits and 35 bases on balls. Devin was selected to the All-Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference 1st team, and garnered a 2nd team All-Region selection. Seth Bryant was a 4-time All-Sandusky Bay Conference selection, an All-Ohio performer, and led Perkins High School to a 27-2 record his senior season with a .345 batting average and 29 RBI’s. Alec McCurry joins his brother, Cole McCurry, as a member of the Dragons baseball team. Alec starred at Olentangy Orange High School in Columbus, Ohio. McCurry was a 2-time All-Conference, All-District, and All-Ohio selection. Alec holds school records for stolen bases and walks in a season. The Dragons have added some new arms to a pitching staff that hurled 10 complete games last season, including four shutouts. Luke Fraley garnered numerous awards over his four seasons at Perkins High School. Two of those include an All-Ohio selection and 1st team All-District selection. Fraley would blow away competition on the mound, compiling a 1.20 ERA in 80 innings. Wyatt Myers, a left-handed pitcher, was a 4-time letterman at Waynesville High School, and a member of the Midland Redskins Summer baseball team. Myers pitched 27 2/3 innings as a Redskin with a 1.40 ERA. Brady Ward graduated from Miami Trace High School and was a key part of the Panthers’ success. As a senior, Ward would compile a 9-1 record with a 0.58 ERA, and 98 strikeouts in 60 2/3 innings.
Head Coach: Tim Mead - 32nd Season
2015 South Preseason Pick: 5th (22 points)
Veteran Head Coach Tim Mead returns starters at key positions around the diamond and on the mound as Walsh prepares for the 2015 season. Walsh will play in the newly formed South Division with Ashland University, Lake Erie College, Malone University, Ohio Dominican University and Tiffin University. The Cavs finished 22-27 overall last year and 14-17 in the GLIAC, just missing the playoffs.
Mead feels the Cavs are solid in all areas. The infield has veterans at first base with Andrew Stalnaker (So., .282), at shortstop with senior Jordan Shank (.314) and at third base with Brook Clark (Jr., .286). Shank played second base last year, but is a true shortstop. Clark can also first base, as he did last season. The outfield returns senior right-field Andrew Bonnette (.291), centerfielder Jason McPeek (Jr., .275) and leftfielder Johnny Knight IV (So.). Handling most of the catching duties is redshirt sophomore Austin Szink, who missed last year due to hamstring issues. The Cavs should have good balance; with a strong defensive team, and one that hits.
The pitching staff is always the key, and the Cavs feel they a unit that will keep them in every game. Second-Team All-GLIAC right-hander Danny Roper (Sr.) heads a veteran staff. Roper was 4-2 with a 1.89 ERA and was unhittable down the stretch. Also returning are starters Brandon Whitslar (RHP, Sr., 5-2, 3.02), Matt Iosue (LHP, 3-6) and Joe Tann (RHP, Sr., 3-4). Also look for Logan Bowles (RHP, So.), Jared Bettura (RHP, Sr.), Kyle Ward (LHP, Jr.), Donnie Macko (RHP, Sr.) and freshman Frank Frate (RHP) to contribute to the Cavs’ success.
Head Coach: Tom Crank - 12th Season
2015 South Preseason Pick: 6th (9 points)
The Pioneers, led by veteran head coach Tom Crank, will be looking for improvement this spring after registering an 18-31 overall record and a 13-20 GLIAC mark in 2014. Although Malone lost All-GLIAC honorees Taylore Baker (starting pitcher) and Logan Gray (first baseman) to graduation, a talented core of returnees and a promising group of newcomers give the Pioneers plenty of optimism for 2015.
The pitching staff will be anchored by sophomore right-hander Gary Lawrence, junior righty Matt Litty and junior southpaw Tyler Whitlach. Lawrence posted a 1.83 ERA last spring before having his season cut short by injury. Litty ranked third on the team a year ago with 53 innings pitched and 44 strikeouts while Whitlatch makes his return to the mound after red-shirting in 2014. Right-handers Branden Carey and Joe Costello will provide experience in the bullpen. Also look for immediate contributions from freshmen hurlers Cody Ballay (LHP), Shawn Mills (RHP), Jordan Yoder (RHP) and Joshua Hurford (RHP).
Returners will be found up and down the batting order, led by 2014 All-GLIAC Second Team performers Hayden Mobley (.340, 9 SB) and Matt Davis (.347, 22 RBI). Infielder Jon Crank (.273, 20 RBI) and outfielder Keanan Locke (.313, 26 runs scored), both tabbed All-GLIAC Honorable Mention last spring, are also back and will look to build upon their solid 2014 campaigns. Outfielder Brenden Wells, a Marshall University transfer, highlights an exciting group of new position players.