Looking ahead: Jimmies’ prospects bright for 2013The final pieces to the NAIA World Series puzzle were filled on Monday. With the roster the Jimmies have returning next season, they hope to make a run at returning to Lewiston, Idaho.
By: By Dave Selvig, The Jamestown Sun, The Jamestown Sun
The final pieces to the NAIA World Series puzzle were filled on Monday.
With the roster the Jimmies have returning next season, they hope to make a run at returning to Lewiston, Idaho.
Jamestown College (32-16-1) fell short of qualifying for the NAIA national tournament this season, but with a bumper crop of returnees coming back, coach Tom Hager expects his team to be in the mix.
“We feel like we have some very talented players offensively, and on the mound the future looks bright,” Hager said. “We have a very good junior class and we’re looking forward to working with them next year.”
Next year’s team will be led by that group of seniors-to-be, particularly on the mound.
The five pitchers with the five lowest ERAs on the staff all return next season, and all logged nearly 30 innings or more.
“We have a lot of guys that threw a lot of innings coming back. We feel like that will be a really strong starting point for our team next season,” Hager said.
Moorhead’s Paul Roers (3-3, 3.09 ERA, 55 1/3 IP) and Adam Ranger (5-0, 3.47 ERA, 46 2/3) are steady innings-eaters. Kacy Gardiner could be an ace. After a shoulder ailment kept him sidelined, early he returned and allowed just 23 hits in 28 1/3 IP with 26 strikeouts in the second half. He posted a sparkling 2.86 ERA and was 3-1 overall.
Throw in lefty Blake Stewart (5-2, 4.01 ERA, 33 2/3 IP) and LaMoure’s Ben Watkins (3-1, 3.45 ERA, 31 1/3 IP) plus closer Nick Smart (5.61 ERA, 5 saves, 39 Ks, 33 2/3 IP) and a large chunk of the staff is already filled.
There’s offensive firepower coming back, too.
Fargo’s Matt Achter was hitting a booming .424 — top five in the NAIA — before a shoulder injury in early April short-circuited his season.
Mitch Stevens (.336 avg., 3 HR, 22 RBIs) and Nico Moreno (.329 avg., 7 HR, 35 RBIs) filled the No. 4 and 5 holes for much of the season. Spencer Flaten, out of West Fargo, popped a team-best eight home runs in his sophomore season.
Jakob Ohmann (.300, 19 RBIs), shortstop Rudy Strnad (23 runs, 16 stolen bases), and Jonathan Minchella (15 RBIs, 13 runs) are also due back.
“We have a lot to look forward to with the guys we have coming back, but hopefully they also realize they have to do their part in the offseason to continue to get better so that when we get going again next fall we’ll be in the best position to succeed,” Hager said.
Sun sports editor Dave Selvig can be reached at (701) 952-8460 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org