CONCORD MOUNTAIN LIONS (36-20)
Concord quietly put themselves together a nice little season last spring. After a (very) slow start the Mountain Lions rode a second half of the season hot streak and established a new school record for wins in a season. The school also captured its fifth WVIAC conference title when they swept though the postseason tournament with ease. The NCAA’s tournament wasn’t as prosperous as Concord dropped its only two game in a pair of closely contested matchups.
This year in the new Mountain East Conference the Mountain Lions should bully around their new conference foes like William Zabka pushed around social outcasts in 80’s movies. The team is loaded with returning talent which includes two of DII baseball’s most prolific power hitters as well as a host of pitchers from last season’s record breaking squad.
Ryan Johnston and Joey Miller combined to hit 26 home runs and 136 RBI last season and batted .404 and .342 respectively. I think Keanu Reeves sums that up best as with an awe inspired, “Whoa”. Johnston was third in the nation in RBI with 66 and also was in the top ten in runs and total bases. Miller was second in the nation in RBI at 70, 15 fourth in homers with 15. The duo will be rejoined on campus with Bret Blevins who hit .363 and stole 28 bases and Joe Camp who hit a promising .387 in limited action. The coaches are also optimistic that freshman Damon Frazier can jump on the field immediately and uses his size and athleticism to make an impact at third base.
Head Coach Andrew Wright is the architect of what could be a dominating pitching staff this season. Three pitchers back on campus with starting pitching experience include Ryan Weatherholtz, Tim Coyle and Kevin Mack. Weatherholtz and Coyle each started eleven games last season and had 3.77 and 4.92 ERA respectively. Mack led the team with a 2.97 ERA, had a 5-0 record and started seven of 14 games. Mack was also was a two-time Pro Bowl selection for the Cleveland Browns in the mid 80s and was one of the best players to use on the original Tecmo Bowl. The Mountain Lions also have two of the best bullpen specialists returning to Athens. Chris Baker was 8-2 in 19 appearances with a 3.33 ERA. Tim Leather also toed the rubber 19 times and had a 3.44 ERA. Coaches are high on incoming freshman Zach Kelly who pitched and played outfield as a prep at Lord Botetourt High School, a school named after the younger and much less evil brother of Harry Potter’s rival Lord Voldemort. Also joining the Lions in ’14 is Barinder Rakkar. Rakkar was formerly with Mount Olive and appeared in seven games last season for the Trojans, earning a 0.90 ERA in 10 innings.