After a 18-19 season last year, the Battling Bishops look to get back to their winning ways. Expectations are high with the return of key talent to compliment exciting new faces.
“The team has been working hard this offseason, and the guys are hungry for improvement,” said head coach Tyler Mott. “We feel that we can pick up right where we left off and get even better this year.”
Mott said strength and depth will be key for the Bishops, with the team’s focus on improving each day, trusting in the process and producing results.
They expect to improve upon last season’s 8-11 NCAC conference record, and have a shot at winning the conference and a run at the region come seasons end.
The Bishop goal for this year is to defeat Wooster, who headlines the strong conference. With 16 seniors and receiving votes in the preseason top 25 polls, the Fighting Scots are favored to win the NCAC.
Mott believes his OWU athletes can match up well with anyone in the conference.
Leading the charge will be senior Sean Vollenweider. One out of the three all conference players returning, Vollenweider transitioned to the outfield last year and had a .337 batting average while slugging .507.
This year, the four-year starter looks to improve on those numbers, while also providing leadership to the team.
Within the pitching rotation, Charles Cooper sets the tone. After leading the team in run average and wins last year to go with a 1-1 strikeout to inning ratio, Cooper will be an important player this season.
According to Mott, several key players showed offseason progress, including J.J. Buckey and Pete Munger.
Buckey will be moving into the starting rotation and the experience throwing big innings from all three will be counted on if the Bishops are to make a deep run this postseason.
Despite losing several starters and key seniors from last year’s roster, Mott said he feels the 11 new faces on this year’s roster can fill in for those spaces nicely.
“We recruit to play, not to sit,” he said, “Our recruits are a solid class who will have the opportunity to come in and contribute early.”
The team kicks off the season March 1 with a doubleheader against Ohio Christian at 12 p.m. and 3 p.m. followed by a home stand against regional foe Otterbein.