With players getting in extra hitting and throwing sessions outside of practice, the Wittenberg University baseball team is doing all the right things to make sure their upcoming season is a success
Although last season did not result in a tournament appearance, the Tigers have the talent and determination to make a run at the post-season in 2011 with 17 returning letter winners and seven returning starters.
Wittenberg has struggled with hitting in the past and with the addition of new bats this year that are not as powerful, the team is working hard on executing hits, runs and bunts.
“We need to focus on playing baseball instead of relying on the homerun ball,” said senior captain Zach Spring.
The new aluminum bats have the exit speed similar to that of a wooden bat. This limit in batters’ ability to hit the long ball is a “big change in baseball,” said Spring.
Spring and fellow captain Ray Noe are among some of the Tiger’s returning seniors, along with Jason Haunty, Michael Yednock, Jim Clement, and Sam Clement. Other returning key players include Matt Hampp, Matt Rupurt, Ted Skalla, Zac Daniels, Nick Van Dyne and Grant Goodwin.
Defensively, the Tigers seem to be solid. “Our pitching is usually pretty good,” said Spring, “but our offense is going to have to step up.”
In an attempt to make sure his team is prepared, head coach Jay Lewis has the squad running a two practice per day schedule that includes a new morning session. The extra preparation should give the Tigers an advantage in the upcoming season that Spring says is “the year of the pitcher” because of the new batting regulations.
A few of the challenging match-ups for the Tigers this season are with conference opponents Wabash, Denison, and Wooster who is nationally ranked. The Tigers open up their season at Bethany Lutheran on March 5th and their first home game is against Mount Union on Saturday, March 19th at 1 p.m.
(Ben Groff / email@example.com)