Beavers ready to capitalize on athletic ability in 2010
February 23, 2010
By: Brandy Bidlack, sports information assistant
Click here for HCAC pre-season coaches poll
As James Grandey enters his seventh season as the head baseball coach at Bluffton
University, the experienced mentor is excited for the 2010 season with a team consisting
of six upperclassmen, nine sophomores and an outstanding class of 21 freshmen. "This
youthful team," according to Grandey, "is one of the most athletic squads I have coached
at Bluffton." The team's main focus is on playing smart in the field while captivating
fans with an offense that has the tools to place the Beavers in the top half of the
Regarding the HCAC, Grandey commented, "This season will be tougher than any previous
year. Most of the squads consist of large groups of experienced seniors and standout
returnees. Rose-Hulman, for example, had success in regional action a year ago, so
moving up in the conference will be difficult. However, in this conference anybody
can beat anybody, and I am confident that we will make our mark in the HCAC this year."
Senior Stephen Torres (Lima/Juan Diego) will anchor the Bluffton defense with his superb arm and glove
behind the dish. Torres and senior pitcher Cody McPherson (Milbury/Lake) made a great tandem in 2009, and the two standouts are expected to
provide outstanding leadership on the field this season. McPherson, Bluffton's top
hitter with a .361 average, four dingers and 31 RBI in 2009, will see time at first
base and designated hitter in addition to providing the Beavers with experience on
Junior Adrian Fritch (Edon) had a solid sophomore campaign, finishing 3-2 in 2009, and looks to have even
more success this year. Sophomores Ryan Leugers (Botkins) and Kelly Barnes (Toledo/Toledo Christian) have shown much improvement and they both look to be in
the starting rotation. Nick Rodesky (Bowling Green) may also figure heavily into Bluffton's success on the mound despite
being just a freshman.
Nick Broyles (Toledo/Whitmer) started in 34 games last season as a freshman, and the quick sophomore
will look to be the foundation of the outfield in 2010. Freshmen Miles Richardson (Granville/Newark Catholic) and Mike Knorr (Pickerington/North), who both started on teams that advanced to the 2009 state baseball
tournament, may see time alongside Broyles right away. Also competing for playing
time in the outfield this season is sophomore Greg Bergstedt (Napoleon/Patrick Henry) who hit .290 while playing in 19 games a year ago.
Another experienced sophomore, Tyler Stephenson (Springfield/Northwestern), was a starter in 29 contests and the third baseman hit
.313 in his inaugural campaign with the Beavers. He also saw time out of the bullpen,
leading the Beavers with four saves. Sophomores Cory Stephens (Lima/Bath), Kyle Trainer (Mechanicsburg) and Nathan Swaney (Lima/Allen East) along with freshman Matt Loudon (Lima/Bath) will all compete for playing time in the middle infield.
Coach Grandey had this to say regarding how his team has progressed throughout the
2010 pre-season. "I am excited about the way this ballclub goes about its work and
the way it approaches the game. As we continue to improve on a daily basis, I really
like the energy this team brings to the plate each day." The 2010 Beaver baseball
team has a foundation that includes a mix of talented youth and experience. The dynamic
team radiates positive energy, full of optimism and determination, and the players
are excited for what is to come this season. "Despite our youth, this club brings
a mature approach to the game," added Grandey.
This year, Bluffton is scheduled to play its first baseball games of the season prior
to March as they will take on Kenyon College at Chillicothe on February 27. However,
the Beavers are also readying themselves for their annual trip to Florida during Spring
Break, the second week of March. On March 7, the Beavers will face Wilmington in Port
Charlotte, Fla., at 10 a.m. The baseball team will play seven varsity games and one
junior varsity contest while at the Snowbird Classic.
Once the Beavers return from sunny Florida, they will travel to Heidelberg to face
the Student Princes on Tuesday, March 16. Bluffton will host its first home game of
the season on Friday, March 19, when the Beavers welcome the Polar Bears of Ohio
Northern to Memorial Field. With plenty of outstanding athletes and experienced leaders,
Coach Grandey is eager to get on the field in 2010.