HIRAM, OHIO — This spring’s edition of the Hiram College baseball team will feature a roster full of experienced players as the Terriers look to continue to improve in 2011.’
Hiram lost just three players to graduation from last year’s squad, including a pair of All-North Coast Athletic Conference award winners in catcher Justin Street and second baseman Kyle Kovach. Both players posted the top-two batting averages on the team last season with Kovach recording a team-best .367 average (29-of-79) followed by Street at .330 (37-of-112).
This season, Hiram returns 12 letterwinners, including six position starters and three starting pitchers. The Terriers will be led by five seniors who include All-NCAC outfielder Doug Adkins (Frazeysburg/ Riverview), pitcher Andy Marsh (Orwell/Grand Valley), infielder Andy Richey (Petersburg/Springfield Local), pitcher Eric Schaffer (Kent Rossevelt) and pitcher Bubba Thurner (Pittsburgh, Pa./ Brashear).
The infield will be led by Andy Richey and will also including returning starters in first baseman Steve Dunn (Westlake) and third baseman/catcher Randy Miller (Glenmont/West Holmes). Richey batted .256 at the plate (23-of-90) with a triple, a double, 11 runs scored and 15 runs batted in. He also had a .927 fielding percentage as the team’s starting second baseman with 39 putouts, 12 assists and committed just four errors. Andy Richey also saw playing time in the outfield and could do so again this spring. Dunn was fourth on the team in batting average at .304 (35-of-115) and was amongst the team leaders in runs scored with 21. He also hit a pair of homeruns and was second in doubles with 10. Miller started all but one of his 34 games last season at third base. He finished sixth on the team in hitting with a .299 average (32-of-107) and was second in RBI with 22. He was also part of a four-way tie for third in homeruns with two to go along with five doubles and 20 runs scored. With the loss of Street at catcher, look for junior Paul Yoculan (Erie, Pa./Mercyhurst Prep) to take over the starting role. Yocluan saw limited playing time last season in 10 games and had a .063 batting average (one-of-16) with a run scored. Also look for sophomore Travis Richey (Petersburg/ Springfield Local) to alternate between his starting pitcher role to the infield. In his first season with the program, he batted .286 (20-of-70) with six doubles, 11 runs scored and 12 RBI.
“It is nice to be in a position with all these returners in the infield,” said Head Coach Howard Jenter. “I am sure that they can build off the confidence and success they had last year.”
The outfield will be anchored by Adkins who ended the 2010 season fifth on the team in hitting with a .303 average (36-of-119) and led the team in triples (four), doubles (12) and runs scored (26). He also hit two homeruns and drove in 14 runs. Following the season, Adkins was one of two players to earn All-Conference accolades. Joining Adkins will be sophomore Ian Sewolich (Cleveland/St. Ignatius) who had a solid “rookie” season as the starting center fielder. He hit a team-leading four homeruns while batting .287 at the plate (29-of-101). He was second in triples with three and was also amongst the team leaders in runs with 21. Rounding out the returning players that could also see playing time in the outfield this season is junior Lance Townsend (Garrettsville). Last year, Townsend saw action at both left field and designated hitter and was third on the team in hitting at .307 (23-of-75) and was second in homeruns (three) and tied for second in runs scored (24). He also tallied a triple, four doubles and 18 RBI.
“I feel that we have one of the strongest outfields that we have had in a while,” said Jenter. “We have the right combination of size, speed and strength.”
Hiram will return a host of pitchers, including four members of last season’s starting rotation in Marsh, junior John Colla (Austintown/Ursuline), sophomore Mike Lalonde (Willowick/South) and Travis Richey. Marsh started all but one of his 10 games played and led the team in victories with three (3-4 overall). He finished second in earned run average amongst the returning starters at 10.33 with 11 strikeouts in 38-and-a-third innings. Colla started six of the seven games he pitched last season. He tallied 11 strikeouts in 25 innings pitched. Lalonde made the move to a starting spot about mid-season and ended the year with a 1-2 record and led all starters in ERA at 10.08. He struck out a team-tying high 24 batters in 25 innings pitched. In addition to his infielder role, Travis Richey made 11 appearances on the mound and started eight. He led the team in innings pitched (41-and-a-third) and was tied with Lalonde for the team-lead in strikeouts with 24.
In addition, look for Thurner, Schaffer, sophomore Eric Cameron (Akron/Green) and sophomore Joel Hallett (Conewango Valley, N.Y./Pine Valley) to see playing time out of the bullpen this spring. Thurner made the most appearances on the team last year with 19 and posted a 10.27 ERA with 11 strikeouts in 30 and two-thirds innings. Schaffer was amongst the team leaders in strikeouts (23) in 25 innings in his first season as a Terrier and should be one of the primary bullpen pitchers in 2011. Cameron and Hallett both saw limited playing time with Cameron making three appearances while striking out four hitters in five innings and Hallett recorded one strikeout in one inning pitched as a freshman.
“We are looking for a vast improvement from our pitching staff this year,” said Jenter. “If their hard work and dedicatio this year in the offseason is any indication of how successful they will be, I think we are going to be just fine.”
Hiram opens the 2011 season with its annual spring trip south to Florida. This year, the Terriers will return to Winter Haven, Fla. and will begin play on Sunday, Mar. 6 in a doubleheader against Juniata (Pa.) College. The first game is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m.
“All the pieces are in place for a very successful and competitive season,” said Jenter. “It is going to be really interesting to watch the season progress.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION, please contact Hiram College Sports Information Director Jeff Hoedt by phone at (330) 569-5495 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.