Baseball Set for a Record-Setting Spring

Alen Cisija

Our time has come.

That’s what the Oberlin College men’s baseball team is claiming as it finishes up preparations for the upcoming season. Coming off of a record-setting year in which they went 18–19 overall (8–8 NCAC), the Yeomen are looking to make their first-ever NCAC playoff appearance, having barely missed postseason competition last year.

“Our expectations have never been higher going into the season. Coming off last year with a chance at the playoffs was a huge step forward for the program. Already coming off a historic season, I believe we have the right guys to build a legacy at Oberlin,” said sophomore standout Matt Fish.

After losing only two of last season’s players to graduation, the Yeomen return essentially their entire lineup from last year’s season. The team will, however, have to adjust to a change at the top. Longtime assistant coach Adrian Abrahamowicz will take over the head coaching position after Eric Lahetta took the compliance director position in the athletics department. Abrahamowicz, in his seventh season at Oberlin, inherits perhaps the deepest and most complete roster in Oberlin baseball history.

On the mound, the Yeomen return the dynamic duo of seniors Grady Campion and Phil Brua. Brua was a Third Team-All Region selection and National Gold Glove Winner last season. He also had a phenomenal summer tour with the Lorain County Ironmen of the Prospect League, where he competed against many of the top NCAA Division I players. Campion posted the team’s second-lowest ERA (5.56) and will be expected to lead the staff this season. The team will also count on three returnees from last season — senior Brandon Cantrill, sophomore Eric Knight and junior Jason James — for additional help on the mound.

The Yeomen’s lineup will be anchored by senior third baseman Ben Puterbaugh, who had one of the most successful seasons in school history last year. Puterbaugh broke school records in hits (61), at-bats (133), plate appearances (145) and total bases (80), while leading the team in virtually every other offensive category. Earning countless accolades for his performance last season, Puterbaugh will look to replicate his success this season.

Oberlin will also look for offensive contributions from Knight, who hit .342 last season, and senior outfielder Ben Kauder.

“Look for Ben Puterbaugh to pick up where he left off last season, Phil Brua to shorten games and the rest of the seniors to also contribute heavily to our success,” said senior pitcher and infielder Ryan Mouch. “If we win the games that we should win, there is no reason we shouldn’t be in the playoffs this season with the talent, experience and leadership this team has.”

The team is eager to begin its season in a doubleheader against Transylvania University on March 5. It will then head to Arizona over spring break to participate in the Greater Phoenix Invitational facing off against Williams College, Middlebury College, Gustavus Adolphus College and Thomas University.

“Spring break is where we need to build momentum, heading into conference play the weekend we return. We play 11 games in six days, so it will be both a good mental and physical test for the team,” said Kauder.

The Yeomen may have all the pieces together to make another run at the record books this year. The team is excited by the prospect of making the conference tournament and perhaps shaking things up in the very competitive NCAC. Look to catch the Yeomen as they open up their home season on April 7 in a doubleheader against Capital College.