The men’s baseball team completed its preseason this month, losing in a tough series to Mount Vernon Nazarene University. This moves their record to three wins and three losses. Despite the heavy losses, the Tigers are very early in the season and still have high hopes for conference play in the spring. ONU has won the CCAC south division four times in the last six seasons—an important seasonal milestone which they will be looking to replicate. As the Tigers prepare for the spring, they are led by an elite group: the seniors.
“This team is unique in that there are eight seniors…they are already very proven players” head coach, Todd Reid says. The stats agree with Coach Reid. Kurtis Minton has a team-leading on-base percentage of .591. Opposing players have a .043 batting average when at bat against pitcher, Nick Campe. Tanner McLain has the second highest team slugging percentage (.733) to Ben Hill’s .875.
Not only is the number of seniors on the team an impact statistically, but it also impacts the team’s sense of brotherhood and cohesion. Campe notices the difference that he can make in that team cohesion effort now that he is a senior player.
“As a senior, I feel more able to give guys advice or help guys out with certain things,” Campe says. “When you’re younger, it’s kind of difficult to approach older guys on the team.”
McLain also acknowledged his role as a leader on the team in the way that he brings energy. “Every day I love playing baseball. I come to the park with energy.”
When asked about the characteristics of this veteran-heavy 2017-2018 team, coach Reid said, “[Our seniors] have been there before, and they know what has to be done. That group of seniors really sets the tone for taking a professional, business-like attitude every day in what they do.”
Although the Tigers do not have another game until spring, they are hard at work solidifying their foundation in practice, with the upperclassmen leading the way.
Featured Photo Courtesy of Olivet.edu