Sitting at 11-10 and with conference play set to begin, the baseball team has a great deal of potential to rack up accomplishments this season.
“We have played the competition that will prepare us for conference games,” explained Coach Matt Bair. “The Florida trip gave us a sense of understanding that we can compete at the highest level. We are definitely trending in the right direction.”
A difficult non-conference schedule and a 10-game stand in the RussMatt Central Florida Central Invitational coupled with a heavy focus on fundamentals has the team sitting with high aspirations.
The focus on fundamentals has paid off.
Anderson has three players hitting over .400: Branton Sanders, Nick Butcher and Brooks Bireley.
Butcher currently leads all of Division III in doubles with 13 and has already been named HCAC Hitter of the Week for his performance in the RussMatt Central Florida Invitational.
Sanders has been limited to 13 games due to injury but has still managed to drive in 19 runs.
Adam Paschal sits just behind those three with a .390 batting average, but carries a team high .513 on-base percentage.
“Instead of trying to take a nine-inning game as a whole,” said Coach Bair, “we want to win every pitch and every inning. That will create a focus that eventually at the end of a game will bring us out on top.”
Of the 41 players on the roster, 31 are freshmen and sophomores. The youth hasn’t affected the team negatively in any way. Bair explained that each player, regardless of class, is going out and playing the role they are being asked to play.
Upperclassmen like Butcher and Sanders anchor the lineup, but many of the younger players have been huge in both the bullpen and rotation.
In addition to 15 appearances in the field, Nick Jones has thrown six times for Anderson, posting a 4-0 record and a 0.00 earned run average in 13.2 innings of work.
All throughout the lineup, some freshmen and sophomores that have been key contributors. Paschal has hit in the three-hole while playing multiple defensive positions.
Jonathan Willoughby holds a .333 batting average and has driven in 14 from the cleanup spot while playing virtually error-free baseball at third base.
Joe Moran and Andrew Rolfsen are both sophomores posting sub-three earned run averages and have also contributed defensively and at the plate.
With such solid performances being posted from both experienced and inexperienced Ravens alike, there are high hopes for this conference season.
The Ravens wil travel to Indianapolis tonight for a date with NCAA Division I Butler in a game that was pushed back a day due to weather. They will kick off HCAC play this weekend with two games at Don Brandon Field against Defiance.
“We have two pieces of the puzzle to be a conference champion,” said Coach Bair. “We have skilled players and we have a great culture. Now the third piece is to go out and execute.”