Baseball team shows dedication on and off the field

Liz Levey, ‘Doah Staff Writer
February 12, 2014

'Doah photo courtesy of SU Athletics

‘Doah photo courtesy of SU Athletics

The Shenandoah University hornet’s baseball team is currently revving up for the upcoming season.

Since 2009 the hornets have had 171 wins, two D-III World Series appearances, four NCAA Regional appearances, and a .767 winning percentage. Most programs around the country would be ecstatic to achieve numbers like these, but for some programs, especially this one in particular, those numbers don’t mean much because there is one thing a National Championship.

“We are a baseball program, a team shows up for the games. A program is involved in the community, and strives to make everyone better as a person player and student.” said junior centerfielder Corbin Lucas, who was one of two players to start in all 39 games for the Hornets a year ago and earned third team All-ODAC honors. He continued, “I love being a part of Shenandoah Baseball. This season expectations are as high as ever. I believe that we can have the potential to go farther than any other baseball team in school history.” However, he makes clear that the team needs to still work hard. “Potential does not mean anything without hard work.”

After being a dominant force in the USA South in the past, the team had to transition into the Old Dominion Athletic Conference last year, which is considered by many to be one of the toughest D-III baseball conferences in the country. Heading into the 2013 season, the ODAC coaches did their annual preseason poll, S.U. earned third place slot. Ultimately, the team ended the regular season with an overall record of 27-10, and they earned themselves a second place tie with Hampden-Sydney heading into the ODAC Tournament. Unfortunately for the Hornets, dropped their first game of the tournament to fourth seeded Washington & Lee, and fell short in a heartbreaking contest against number one seeded Bridgewater by a score of 4-3, ending their season with a final record of 27-12.

“We played well during the season but did not live up to our expectations.  Going zero and two in the conference left a very bitter taste in our mouth ”, said junior second baseman J.J. McDaniel, who led the team in home runs last year with six and was second in runs batted in (RBI) with 33, trailing only Lucas who led the team with 35. “We lost some seniors but we have a lot of returning players that will have an extreme impact on this up and coming season.” continued the second basemen.

This year’s team loses seven members from last year’s squad to graduation, including co-captains Cody Smallwood and Steven Walker. However, the Hornets have the majority of their main contributors coming back. They will also get back the services of redshirt senior Vince Claudio, who was the team’s 2012 Co-Pitcher of the Year but missed all of last season after undergoing elbow surgery.

This season in the ODAC preseason poll ranked them second in the conference they received one first place vote and 88 points to come in 10 points behind the regular season champion Bridgewater. The Shenandoah University baseball team received a top 25 ranking consideration in pre-season poll by D3baseball.com

With strong leadership coming from the nine seniors on the roster, and a group of returners and incoming freshmen that are ready to contribute in any way they can, the team feels they are poised to make a deep run into the postseason and reach the elusive goal that has just been just out of their grasps the last couple of years. “It is our goal to win the ODAC and regionals and get back to Appleton, Wisconsin for the World Series.” Said senior captain Cody Vorous. “As captain I take the responsibility and try to lead by example

“We’ve been working very hard to get the field ready and remove as much snow as possible. We are all extremely excited to start playing on the field” said Creamer, who is one of those seniors that will provide the team with outstanding leadership and production this upcoming season. “We’ve seen this team when it was the number 1 team in the nation and we want to get it back there.”  Opening Day on Feb. 15 can’t come soon enough. The Hornets open with a double header at home at 12:30 p.m. against Misericordia.

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