The Bobcat baseball team closed out their 2015 season over the weekend with a 2-2 record in the MCAC Tournament, taking 3rd place. They finished the season with an overall record of 23-23 and a conference record of 13-11. This is the first time since 2008 that the Bobcats had an overall record at .500 or better, and the first season since 2010 to post a winning season in the conference.
Their final game was played in the MCAC tournament on Sunday, when the Bobcats faced Oklahoma Wesleyan University, who entered the tournament atop the MCAC and ranked #6 in the nation. In a matchup earlier in the tournament, the Bobcats lost a close game to OKWU 7-5, and the Cats were hoping to even the score.
Despite posting 10 hits, C of O was able to tally only 4 runs against a strong OKWU team, who posted 12 runs on 15 hits to capture the win and move on to take on Bellevue University for the championship.
Leading the Bobcats at the plate was sophomore right fielder Austin Schweiss, who went 4-for-5, including a double, and scored 2 runs. Cody Hull was 2-for-4 (1 run scored, 2 RBI) and Cody Pentecost went 2-for-5 (1 run scored, 2 RBI), with both hitting a home run. The Bobcats pitched “by committee” with Saltarelli, Myers, Keller and Whiteis sharing time on the mound.
Although disappointed they didn’t make it to the championship game, the Bobcats are already excited as they look toward next season. While they will lose gold-glove fielding and hot-hitting center fielder Cody Pentecost, along with starting pitcher Josh Neufeld (7-1, 3.75 ERA, #26 in the nation in batters struck out with 73), catcher Tyler Marion (.255, 4 doubles, 13 RBI), and shortstop Landon Teal (.896 fielding percentage), they have seen great things this season from their underclassmen. To name a few: freshman Christian Vonderheide (right handed pitcher who went 6-3 this season with a 3.14 ERA, striking out 36), sophomore Alex Stephens (right handed pitcher, 5-4, 3.88 ERA, 36 strikeouts), sophomore outfielder Austin Schweiss (.262 batting average, 8 doubles, 1 HR, 14 RBI, .948 fielding percentage), and red-shirt freshman J. D. Payne (.333, 4 doubles, 7 homeruns, and a solid presence at first base). Along with returning upperclassmen such as outfielder Cody Hull (.358, 8 doubles, 1 triple, team-leading 8 homeruns, 38 RBI, and 9 stolen bases) and reliever Jason Myers (43.1 innings in 25 appearances, 5 saves, 36 strikeouts), the Bobcats are expected to continue improving their record and proving themselves as strong competitors in the independent conference.
Congratulations to the Bobcats on a great season—we’re only sorry they didn’t get to play many games at home! Congrats, also, to Coach Neale Richardson on a successful first year at the helm of the program!
Pictured: Seniors Marion, Neufeld, Teal, Pentecost