For the third consecutive year, the Hillsdale College baseball team has some postseason business to attend to.
The Chargers qualified for the Great Midwest Athletic Conference Tournament in its first year as a member program in the league. Hillsdale was the third seed coming out of the North Division and will face Trevecca Nazarene at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday in the first round.
All G-MAC Tournament games will be played at the gorgeous Prasco Park in Mason, Ohio. It is an eight-team, double elimination tournament that will begin Wednesday and conclude Saturday. The links at the top of this release contain the tournament bracket and program.
Hillsdale finished the regular season at 22-26 overall and 17-10 in the G-MAC. The team was absent from postseason play from 1995-2015, but in 2016, the team qon two games in the GLIAC Tournament and qualified for the NCAA Division II Midwest Regional for the first time ever. Last year, Hillsdale beat Wayne State in the GLIAC Tournament before being eliminated by Grand Valley State in the third set of games. This year's team has a strong mix of veterans and contributing young players that have played a big part in the success of the team during the season. The top four starting pitchers - Will Kruse, Phil Carey, Kolton Rominski and Andrew Verbrugge - all have at least two years' worth of starting experience. Kruse is the program's all-time leader in innings pitched, while Carey has played every role imagineable on the staff, from start to closer. Verbrugge has had an excellent conference season and was third in the G-MAC in earned run average.
A double elimination tournament puts a premium on pitching depth, and Hillsdale's depth has developed nicely through the year. Young pitchers like David Toth, James Krick and Chris Dunn have all shown they can be productive when being handed the ball in clutch situations. Their performance could be key in a long tournament run.
A lineup deep with speed and hitting ability leads the Chargers into the tournament. Steven Ring has been the team's power center for two years and leads Hillsdale with 11 home runs. Jake Hoover, Ryan O'Hearn, Colin Hites, Dylan Lottinville and Alex Walts are all capable of three-hit games with doubles power. The Chargers are at their best when the lower end of the lineup gets on base, turning the order over to the top of the lineup, which is good at bringing home baserunners.
All tournament games will be broadcast on the Great Midwest Digital Network. A link to all live webcast presentations can be found at the top of this story.