Baseball preview

After a down year in which it went 20-20, Chapman’s baseball team is looking to get back to its winning tradition in its 2013 campaign.

2012 was the first season the Panthers failed to make the postseason in 10 years.

“We lost a lot of one-run games, or games in extra innings last year,” said senior right fielder Tyler Surnbrock. “If our pitching can step up, I think we can be really successful.”

Surnbrock is one of Chapman’s returning offensive leaders. He hit .317 with 26 RBIs, 25 runs scored, eight stolen bases and two home runs last season.

Along with Surnbrock, junior centerfielder Connor Battaglia, who hit .330 with 19 RBIs, and junior first baseman Mark Saatzer, who hit .327 with 2 homeruns and 25 RBIs, lead a group of talented returning offensive players.

Chapman’s pitching staff took a hit from last year’s rotation, losing its only four pitchers who had sub-three ERAs. Ben Levitt graduated, Brian Rauh was drafted by the Washington Nationals and both Kevin Osaki and Travis McGee will be recovering from Tommy John surgeries to reconstruct a ligament in their elbows.

“We are going to have a young pitching staff,” said Head Coach Tom Tereschuk. “We had an excellent recruiting class. We just don’t know who will step up out of that group yet.”

Returning pitchers Justin Hanks and Taber Watson – both juniors – will be relied on to step their game up after having ERAs over 4.5 last season.

Chapman will open up its season Jan. 31 with a three game series against Trinity University in Texas.

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