The Hiram College baseball team was selected to finish 10th in the 2014 North Coast Athletic Conference Coaches Poll.
Hiram totaled 14 points to place 10th of 10 teams. Defending NCAC Tournament Champion The College of Wooster was picked as the favorite with 100 points and all 10 first-place votes. Denison University was second with 80 points and Allegheny (Pa.) College rounded out the top three with 72 points.
The Terriers are coming off of a season that saw them post the most victories in almost a decade with 15 (15-22 overall).
“We are looking to build off of the success and progress we had in 2013,” said Head Coach Howard Jenter. “The combination of experience returning and solid young players will be exciting to watch develop.”
This spring, Hiram returns a balanced roster of experience and youth and will return all three player All-Conference winners from last season in senior catcher/infielder Tim Calhoun(Canfield), junior catcher Jim Jaksa (Chesterland/West Geauga) and junior pitcher Nate Weiss(Warren, Mich./University Liggett).
Calhoun started all 37 games in 2013 and led the team in hitting with a .354 batting average (45-of-127). He also led the team in hits (45) and runs batted in (30) in addition to hitting two homeruns, nine doubles, scored 16 runs and was walked 17 times. His nine doubles and 17 walks were second highest on the team. Defensively, Calhoun had a .991 fielding percentage with 181 putouts, 31 assists and just two errors. He also saw playing time as a pitcher ending the season with a 2.45 earned run average, a 1-0 record and two strikeouts in three and two-thirds innings. Following the season, he was tabbed second-team All-NCAC.
Jaksa also started every game last spring and finished just behind Calhoun in hitting with a .344 average (43-of-125). He led the team in homeruns (three), doubles (12), was second in RBI (24) and third in runs scored (23). He was tied with Calhoun in walks with 17. Defensively, Jaksa posted a .927 fielding percentage with 102 putouts and 38 assists. At the end of the season, he garnered honorable mention All-Conference accolades.
Weiss had his best season as a Terrier so far as a sophomore leading the team in wins (four) and strikeouts (48). He was second in both innings pitched (58.1) and appearances (11). Weiss started all but one of the games he played and a team-high five complete games to go along with one shutout. He recorded his best outing of the season in a 3-1 win against Pitt-Greensburg in which he struck out nine batters in seven innings. He also had two games where he struck out eight hitters. Weiss joined Jaksa as a honorable mention All-NCAC pick after the season.
The 2014 schedule will have its equal share of winnable games and challenges. The Terriers will begin the season with their annual spring trip to Ft. Myers, Fla. beginning Mar. 9. Hiram will play a doubleheader against Alvernia (Pa.) University in the season opener. Following the trip south, Hiram is scheduled to host its first home game on Mar. 22 against Penn State-Fayette. The conference schedule is set to open on Mar. 29-30 when the Terriers travel to Oberlin for a four-game series against Oberlin College.
“Our 2014 season kicks off with a challenging schedule in Ft. Myers, Fla.,” said Jenter. “This will give us a benchmark for where this year’s team is at and the guys are excited to get started.”