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2019 Season Preview: Baseball Has Sights Set on a Return to the Top of the Centennial

2019 Season Preview: Baseball Has Sights Set on a Return to the Top of the Centennial

2019 Preseason Captains Interview

HAVERFORD. Pa. – The Haverford College baseball team comes into the 2019 season looking to return to the Centennial Conference tournament for the 13th time in the last 15 seasons. A program that has seen a run of excellence under head coach Dave Beccaria that includes rising to the top of the conference in 2012, 2014, and 2016, heads out on a journey to again hoist the Centennial trophy in May. With the day in, day out effort required to compete in a conference as comprehensively challenging as the Centennial, the Fords turn to an experienced group of seniors to help set the tone for another run at the title in 2019. 

The Schedule
That quest begins in earnest on Saturday, with an 11:30 a.m. matchup with Kean first on the docket, followed by a neutral-site contest with Susquehanna at 2:45 p.m. After a midweek matchup at Immaculata (March 6), Haverford then tests itself with its annual spring break trip to the Gene Cusic Collegiate Classic in Fort Myers, Fla. A highlight of that trip is a matchup on Wednesday, March 13 against No. 1 Wooster. Last season, the Fords defeated then-No. 6 Wooster as Dylan Livingston struck out 10 over six innings and Andrew Johnson followed for a three-inning save in a 1-0 six-hit shutout in Fort Myers. 

Other key matchups on the non-conference slate this season include battles with No. 2 Rowan, Arcadia, and TCNJ on consecutive days from March 26-28. Both Arcadia and TCNJ are receiving votes in the latest poll. Haverford will host Gettysburg, Johns Hopkins and McDaniel for home doubleheaders this season, while heading out on the road to Franklin & Marshall and Dickinson. Traditional midweek split-series with Ursinus, Muhlenberg, Swarthmore, and Washington College will continue in 2019.

Postion Players
Senior co-captain Ethan Lee-Tyson is coming off of an all-region selection a season ago, as his selection represented the sixth straight season that a Haverford player was named an all-region selection by Lee-Tyson earned the honor in consecutive seasons after he ranked third in the Centennial Conference in batting average (.372) and hits (60). Lee-Tyson was second in the Centennial Conference in runs scored (40) and fifth in on-base percentage (.451). Lee-Tyson was one of the hardest hitters in the nation to strike out last season, with just 10 strikeouts in 145 at-bats.  On the basepaths, Lee-Tyson helped pace the high octane Fords running game with 16 steals in his 19 attempts. Entering his fourth season at Haverford, The Weston, Conn. product sits in the top five in program history in career batting average (.376) and total bases (250). Lee-Tyson's 55 hits in 2018 were the 10th-most in the single-season history of the program. 

Will Karp returns for his junior season after ranking 13th in the nation in stolen bases, and eighth in stolen bases per game a season ago. Karp recorded 29 total steals, the fourth-most in the program's single-season history. Karp was also named the Centennial Conference Gold Glove of the Year, consistently saving runs on plays up the middle and diving for highlight-reel catches that spanned the gap between the outfield grass and infield dirt. First baseman and outfielder Owen Plambeck (.268/.353/.382) also returns to the lineup for his junior campaign after playing in 34 games, while sophomore Ben Somorjai (.260/.368/.425) started 24 contests a season ago at catcher in his rookie campaign. 

Senior co-captain Tom Phillips appeared in games as both a pitcher and first baseman a season ago, making 11 starts on the infield while also appearing 12 times on the mound. Senior Daniel Joffe will also be in the infield mix after appearing solely as a pitcher in his first three years on campus. Senior Sam Partee figures to see a wealth of catching time while senior infielder Nick Perez, and senior co-captain outfielder Jared Turner all return for their senior seasons with the ability to lengthen the lineup in key situations while also providing aggressiveness on the base paths.

Junior Harrison Burns provides positional flexibility after hitting .308 in 52 at-bats a season ago, and junior Luke Wallis will look to take another step forward after seeing action in 11 games a season ago. Sophomores Matt Sabitsky and Garrett Melby will look to take advantage of opportunities in the early season after limited action in their first-year campaigns.

Newcomer position players: C Ben Browning, RHP/OF Kevin Casey, IF Zach Landry, IF Grant Schwartz, OF Ryan Schwartz, OF Luke Smith, C Will Vostrejs

On The Mound
Last season, the Fords benefitted from expanded pitching depth despite a young group of hurlers. That group will continue to make an impact in what has become a charged conference offensively.

Sophomore Andrew Johnson (2-3, 3.29 ERA, 24 K) pitched 27.1 innings despite making just two starts. He tied for the team lead in appearances with 12. Sophomore Nathan Bass (3-3, 4.43 ERA, 37 K), senior Luke Duris (2-4, 4.50 ERA, 26 K), sophomore Ryan Giovenco (4-1, 4.89 ERA, 29 K), and junior Dylan Livingston (2-5, 5.97 ERA, 31 K) all pitched 30 or more innings and made seven or more starts for the Fords. Duris and Giovenco held batters to a .205 and .213 average, respectively, to key the grouping.

Junior Nathan Vucovich (0-0, 5.29 ERA) made three starts as a swingman for the Fords in his sophomore season. Left-handed junior Brandon Jenkins (1-0, 6.14 ERA) also figures to serve in a dual role, as a pitcher who can start, get quick outs in tough situational scenarios, or provide long relief.

Junior Lucas Greenbaum appeared in four games last season out of the bullpen after battling through injury in his first campaign on campus. Senior Tom Phillips became a relief ace in his new two-way role, striking out 13 in 16.2 innings. Sophomore Thomas Primosch impressed as a flamethrower in his rookie campaign, holding opponents to a .184 average. Seniors Daniel Joffe and Austin Castellanos saw limited relief action a season ago, while lefty sophomore Sam Istvan looks to build after seeing three innings of relief in 2018.

Newcomers to the pitching staff: RHP Eric Kopczynski, RHP Cole Bramhall, RHP/OF Kevin Casey, LHP Martin Matsumura