The 2016 edition of the CACC Baseball team features a veteran squad led by a trio of LHP's that give the Trojans a chance to win every conference series. "When Zach Melton, Braden Olive and John Michael Stephens toe the rubber, we have a chance to win every time out," said first-year head coach, Doug Kovash. Melton signed with Division I – University South Alabama – back in November. He has a bright future at USA and has garnered interest from MLB scouts. Olive and Stephens were weekend rotation guys in '15 and have both improved throughout the fall. Both will sign scholarships in the spring with prestigious programs.
Look for Garrett Brown, Nathan Langley, Will Donahoo, Austin Parrish and Mason Kleist (LHP) to see time out of the bullpen on a regular basis throughout the season. Brown led the team in saves in '15. Over-all, the staff has great depth, as 18 pitchers are competing for innings this spring. True freshman, Peyton Whitten, Sean Berry, Greg Stephens, Strauss Outlaw, Ryan Olsen (LHP) and Allen Wilson (LHP) should pitch initially out of the pen and two of those five competing for the #4 and #5 spots in the rotation. Redshirt freshmen, Alex Bentley (LHP) and mid-year transfers, Zavier Lushington, Shawn Vowell and Brett Olson (LHP) add much needed depth and should see time on the bump.
Offensively, the Trojans return starters at every position from a year ago. Nathan Langley (SS) and Chris Cusimano (1B/OF) are the top two returning hitters from '15. Parker Moman © will catch every day and has the ability to shut down a running game. Look for Will Alfano (3B/2B), Trevor Bates (2B), Ian Kirk (OF), Cameron Bloebaum (OF) and Bobby Morgan (OF) to see significant time at the plate or on the field defensively. While Langley, Cusimano and Moman have locked in their roles, every other position is wide open entering the season offensively as the team struggled to score a little over 4 runs/game in '15 and averaged just 2 runs/game this past fall.
Several new players are being counted upon to step up to the plate and produce big numbers. Drew Hayles (3B/1B), Peyton Logan (1B), Michael Walls (INF), Sean Berry (INF), Cooper Flanagan (INF), Strauss Outlaw (2B), Trevor Bastien (3B), Brandon Baynes (OF), Gabe Wurtz (OF), and Corbin Horst © have all shown flashes of producing offensively. In addition, newcomers Zavier Lushington (OF) and Brett Olson (1B/DH) will add some power to a line-up that saw only 4 HR's in '15. Zackery Skipworth © transferred to us this spring and adds much needed depth behind the plate.
"One of the things I love about this team is that we have no superstars. We are utilizing a true team concept to produce a championship season. There are many inter-changeable parts to our squad and line up – offensively and defensively. If our speed guys can get on base enough we can make some things happen with our running game. Our pitching staff has 8 LHP's and I feel we have options should somebody struggle on a given day. Many of our players are just starting to tap into their potential and I am excited to see their hard work and dedication to their craft pay off with a return to the ACCC State Tournament. They are hungry for a return to prominence," remarked Coach Kovash.