Mountaineer baseball is set to take its first swings of the 2015 season this weekend when they travel south to the metro-Atlanta area and a three game series with Georgia Gwinnett College starting on Saturday. GGC is ranked sixth in the NAIA Pre-Season Poll as they come off a 53-13 season that included a deep run into the NAIA Championships. No worries here, Head Coach Todd Weaver likes his chances.
Weaver is expecting big things from this version of the Blue Crew as they come off last year's 21-23 record. He looks to a deep and multifaceted pitching staff, experienced leadership and one of the best players in the country in senior, catcher Ryan Akins.
Akins was one of several Mountaineers to achieve all KIAC honors last season. Akins and Austin Hunt (first-base) were both first-team All-KIAC; while Blake Crow (shortstop) earned second team honors. However, only Akins returns to Berea Blue in 2015.
Look for seniors Kenneth Cullings (Utility), Alex Helm (outfield) and junior Logan Hunt (outfield) to fill those the vacant all-conference spikes, as each were valuable offensive members of last year's squad. Additionally, Weaver will look for contributions from six new players this year: shortstop Devin Belleville (Bourbon Co HS/Paris, KY), 2nd baseman Ryan Blevens (Butler HS/Louisville KY), Utility Chase O'Conner (Gallatin Co HS/Warsaw, KY), outfielder Nathan Summey (Pisgah HS/ Waynesville, NC), outfielder #31 Jesse James (East Carter HS/Rush, KY), and 2nd baseman Jorge Reyes Delago. (Fairdale HS/Louisville, KY.) to begin making their own mark on the program.
The Blue Crew has a veteran pitching staff this season, and is another reason for much optimism as senior right-handers Patrick Elzinga and Lawton Jackson will look to anchor the staff along with sophomores Chad Brown and Cord Glass.
The BC's schedule includes games versus historic rivals like Asbury University and the University of the Cumberlands, to go along with new comers such USCAA member's UC-Clermont and Tennessee-Temple and NCAA Division III member, Centre College.