attitude and vision of the 2007 Shawnee State baseball team has
undergone an overhaul and that should result in a great improvement
over last year's 16-25 record. "With 12 new faces and the return of
18 players from last year, we have worked tremendously hard on being
more athletic and creating an environment that leads to success,"
said Shawnee State coach Tom Bergan. "From the beginning of fall
we've have had the focus and determination to become a better team
and we are very anxious to put it to the test."
Bergan expects definite improvements in all facets of the game.
"At times in 2006 we looked very good at the plate but the
consistency was not there. At times, we lacked an understanding of
how to win ball games. We're much improved in both facets. The 52
game schedule should allow ample opportunity for everyone to
contribute and find their role."
"Senior Zac Shoaf moves from right field to centerfield. His
ability in the outfield is outstanding. He gets great jumps on the
ball and has a strong arm to cut down runners. Shoaf posted 4
assists last year and single handedly kept us in a lot of ball
games. In the lead off spot Shoaf batted .372 and scored 40 runs.
Sophomore Drew Howard also posted impressive numbers. His .346 clip
was second on the team. He finished with 4 homeruns and 16 RBIís
and committed only 1 error all season. Junior transfer Bryan
Doberdruk has an incredible work ethic. The first time we met Bryan
we knew that he was capable of being a special player for us. In
2006, Bryan hit .417 in 31 games at Mercyhurst College. Junior
Nathan Timberlake adds depth and strength to our outfield.
Timberlake didnít commit an error all of last year and was
never thrown out on the bases. Freshman Brad Dehart and sophomore
Bobby Tackett will be ready to contribute in a backup role.
"Junior Justin Craft will once again man the hot corner. Craft
spent the summer out in Washington with the Everett Merchants in the
Pacific Coast league and posted .325 BA and only committed 2 errors
all summer. This was a great confidence boost for Justin and we
look for those types of numbers again from him in 2007. Sophomore
Logan Crabtree could also see time at the corner. Logan showed
tremendous improvement in the fall leading the team with a .525 BA
and showing the consistency at the plate that made him a threat at
Lucasville High School. Freshman Zac Alexander could also see some
time at third due to his versatility and athleticism. He has good
range and reaction at every position we've played him.
"Sophomore Jeremy Blackston had a very solid freshman season. Being
put into that type of situation that early is a lot of pressure for
anyone to handle. Jeremy has good instincts on the field and will
be the first to tell you that he is ready to showcase why he was the
Most Valuable Player in the TVC. Freshman Chaz Moehler has a great
upside. He can hit from both sides of the plate and adds
athleticism to the middle infield. Alexander could also see time at
"Senior Casey Wooddell will be counted on more to contribute up the
middle. Wooddell finished the season batting .262 and didnít really
seem comfortable with all the position changes. Wooddell played all
the infield positions last year except 1st base. When
Casey is playing relaxed heís as good as anybody up the middle.
Juniors Eric Grewing and Greg Reimer will compete for backup
position when Casey is on the mound. Reimer posted a .213 average
last year while driving in 9 runs and making a game saving catch to
end a 1-0 win over visiting Virginia Wise. Redshirt sophomore Corey
Fischer is coming off shoulder surgery that forced him out of action
last year. So far, Fischer has shown improved arm strength and
better control of the bat.
"Sophomore Logan Crabtree is the leading candidate for the nod at 1st.
His confidence and work ethic has fueled his ability to play the
game. Logan hit .231 last season and 1 double in 13 at bats.
Sophomore Transfer Mike Roelker could also see valuable time at 1st
when not catching. He has improved his arm strength and is learning
to hit from the bottom up. The transitions he has made to this
point are conducive to driving in more runs and being able to hit in
the middle of the lineup. Junior transfer Billy Stump, also a
catcher, will see time at 1st base. He was very
consistent at the plate in the fall and has enough athleticism to
play multiple positions. Senior Nolan Crabtree is back again for
the Bears and will definitely put the pressure on those in front of
him. His maturity, experience and confidence are right where it
needs to be. Nolanís last year with the Bears was in 2004 when he
hit .262, 1 HR and 14 RBIís in 14 games. Freshman Brian Ramey could
also see time at this position. His learning curve is very quick
for a freshman. Brian hit .579 as a Sr. in High School and struck
out only 2 times all year. Freshman Steve Kelly has improved
his athleticism and bat speed. He does a good job with the glove
around the bag and does everything we have asked of him. His
strength is better and he has done an outstanding job of getting
"Senior R.J. Niemer, sidelined with a shoulder injury last year,
will start behind the dish in the opener. In 5 games last year R.J.
hit .333 with 1 double and 2 RBIís. His focus and work ethic has
set the tone for our catching core. Billy Stump is an
imposing figure behind the plate. He is accurate with his throws
and has great field presence. Stump was one of the hottest hitters
in the fall boasting an average above .350. Mike Roelker is also a
great option behind the plate. He has improved daily. He has great
arm strength and his throwing times have decreased and are
consistently below 2.0. If Mike pounds the ball the way he has in
preseason it will be hard to choose who gets the most reps.
Freshman Brian Ramey is the tallest catcher SSU has had in years.
At 6í4Ē Brian will not be hard to miss from a pitching standpoint.
Brianís best aspect is his ability to hit the ball. He has a good
understanding of how to drive the ball and good hand eye
coordination. Ramey is untested at the college level, but success
has always followed. Zac Alexander has the strongest arm of the
catching core. 1.84 pop time will throw most runners out if the
pitcher will give him a chance. As Zac gets more experience and
proves himself with the bat he could legitimately become the
backstop for the Bears.
SO Randall Scott became the ace of the staff in his first year of
action last season. Randall pitched brilliantly in the first half
of the season. Randall lost a 2-1 decision to Rio on a past ball
and bounced back to get the complete game 5-1 victory against the
potent Urbana offense. Randall has improved in every facet of the
game. With better control of his off-speed pitches and a yearís
experience, we look for him to be even better in 2007. Justin
Craft finished 4-3 in 2006 and completed 5 of the 8 games he
started. Craft led the staff with a 4.60 ERA and held opposing
hitters to a .271 average over 43 IP. Casey Wooddell is a
competitor in every facet of the game. Wooddell has 3 pitches he
can throw for strikes at any time and does a masterful job of
controlling the running game. In 33 1/3 IP Casey only walked 4
batters and finished 3-3 on the year. Junior Phil Holt posted a 2-1
record in 12 appearances in 2006 and will be expected to contribute
more quality innings for us. Holt has developed better off speed
pitches that will allow him to compete for our conference rotation.
Junior Jonathan Venters is coming off a lackluster year after a
great freshman campaign. He has been a starter primarily the last
two years but will move to the bullpen until he can regain the
command he showed as a freshman. Venters has worked very hard on
his conditioning and off speed pitches. The fact that he wants the
ball in any situation should pay off for us early in the bullpen.
Junior Nick Collins tallied only 5 appearances in 2006 due to
inflammation in his elbow. At 6í4 he has the stuff to back it up.
Collins has developed a change-up that will help keep hitters off
his fastball and will be counted on to close out games for us this
year. Sophomore Tyler Hollar finished 1-0 with one save and held
hitters to a .220 average in 13 IP last year. This fall, Hollar
posted the best era on the staff (0.78) and will likely get some
spot starts and pitch the middle innings in conference. Junior Eric
Spille is looking stronger and making progress every time he
throws. Spille, despite finishing 0-2 a year ago, pitched some
brilliant innings for us and has more confidence now that he is
healthy. Zac Alexander has made huge strides in his command and
composure on the mound. If he continues to progress the way he has,
Zac will blossom into an outstanding player. Freshman Odie Kelly is
another key addition to the staff. The final season of his high
school career there was nobody better. He has a live arm and a good
breaking ball to back it up. Odie will likely start in the bullpen
to get his feet wet and gain the confidence he needs to pitch at
this level. Greg Reimer has doubled his duties from last year and
will help the bullpen eat some innings when needed. Gregís best
asset is that he never throws a ball straight and does a good job of
keeping the ball down. Sophomore transfer Ryan Fairley is coming
off Tommy John surgery and will bolster our staff when ready. His
throwing sessions have been very promising and we are excited to get
him healthy and on the mound. Freshman Brad Eldred is the most
improved player from the fall. Playing primarily in the outfield
this fall we have asked Brad to make the transition to the pen. His
size and strength is a great asset and we are excited about
developing his skill sets."
Shawnee State opens the season at home on March 2 vs. Notre Dame
College. The Bears open American Mideast Conference play
versus Mt. Vernon on March 9.