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2019 Coast Guard Baseball Preview

Coast Guard returns all but one player from last year and has a strong senior class of 11 players to lead the way for the 2019 season.

Last year, the Bears got off to a great start in Florida, going 5-1 before dropping 14 of their first 15 games up north. Coast Guard would win five of its final eight games to finish 11-18 overall and 4-13 in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC).

“We need to be more consistent and play the way we did in Florida and then again late in the season,” said head coach C.C. Grant. “We will be counting on our large senior class to lead us both on and off field and make sure we show up to play every day.”

The Bears return four players that hit over .300 last season led by senior left fielder Luke Thompson, who hit .381 with six doubles and 18 RBI’s.
Thompson will be joined the outfield by freshman Nolan Johnson, who is expected to start in center field while senior Trey Rittenhouse (pictured) is expected to battle for time in that position.
Junior Alex Cordes (pictured), who played in 28 games last season, and sophomore Dylan Roberts, who played in 15 game a year ago, will battle for the starting spot in right field.
Senior Jeremy Lhotka, who hit .365 last season and led the team with eight doubles to go with 21 RBI’s is back behind the plate.
classmate Jake Behne, who will be the designated hitter, will also backup behind the plate as well at the first base spot.
Senior Reed Jenkins, who hit .257 and made 20 starts last season, will start at first base.
sophomore Tom Ankers, who was slowed by an injury last season and made just nine starts, will be start at second.
Senior co-captain Will Stephens, who hit .310 with seven doubles, two triples, 12 RBI’s and a team-high 25 runs scored is back as the starting shortstop after starting all 29 games last season.
Junior Jon Pressley, who hit .311 last year and led the Bears with 24 RBI’s will once again start at third base after making 28 starts last season. He could also move across the diamond and see some time at first base.

The Bears have plenty of depth and versatility in young backup infielders in sophomores Jack McNiff (2B/3B), Dylan Donahue (2B/SS) (pictured) and freshman Cody Fidler (2B/SS/3B).

Junior Brett Sullivan (pictured) and sophomore lefty PJ Gravalec are at the top of the Bears rotation this season. Sullivan was 4-4 with a team-low 2.88 ERA last season as he made seven starts and led the team with 35 strikeouts in a team-high 50 innings.

Gravalec was 1-3 with a 6.37 ERA and was second on team with 35 1/3 innings and 28 strikeouts.

Seniors Dustin Reeder (top) and Walter Harris (bottom) will fill the #3 and #4 spots in the Bears pitching rotation and Grant is looking for both of them to step up and have big senior seasons.

Sophomore Nate Ralph is penciled in as the Bears #5 starter as the season begins.

The Bears have several arms in the bullpen in senior co-captain Jack Brandt, (top left) classmate Dan Finn, (top right) junior Ben Webster (bottom left) and sophomore Lukas Caskey (bottom right) along with newcomer Fidler, which gives Grant plenty of options. Stephens, the starting shortstop, will also serve as the Bears closer this season.
“We play a lot of very good teams and the key is going to be our pitching keeping us in the games so our offense has the opportunity to scratch enough runs to stay in the game,” said Grant. “If our top two pitchers pitch the way they are capable, they will give us a chance to win a lot of games.”
Coast Guard opens the season at Dean on March 6th before heading to the Gene Cusic Classic in Ft. Myers, Fla. for seven games. “The spring trip is so important to our program,” said Grant. “I don’t think there is any way to expect kids to have a successful season without the preparation that they get down in Florida."
“We would be so far behind with other teams being ten games into their season and we put ourselves in harm’s way without those seven games and we look forward to getting off to a great start and carrying that momentum with us back home.”

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