The York College baseball team started their play strong by winning three out of four non-conference games played over the first weekend of February—including a win over #15 ranked Sterling College (Sterling, Kan).
The Panthers played four games at Hillsdale Free Will Baptist College on February 1 and 2, winning two games versus Hillsdale and splitting with Sterling.
In the victory over Sterling, YC pitcher Aaron Conyers threw a complete game and only gave up four hits on one earned run. Conyers is a junior from Cameron Park, Calif.
Alec Abend, a senior from Carmel, Calif., led the team in hitting, with five hits in that game.
Head Coach Nick Harlan says he is optimistic about the season ahead. “We played well for an opening weekend. It was productive to be outside for the first time and work out some rust. We saw some things that were good and some areas for improvement.”
Harlan says that the team has great chemistry and leadership this year, and he expects that will bring success. However, he stresses that his team is focused on playing in the moment. “It is early to make predictions but I am confident that we have enough depth to play well consistently. We will win one day at a time if we continue to get better every day,” he says.
He also commented the team's more tangible assets. “On the field we have strong starting pitching, a solid bullpen and a good defensive club,” he says.
The Panthers are again in play this weekend. They will face off against #10 ranked Oklahoma Baptist University (Shawnee, Okla.) in two games Friday and two on Saturday. Play starts at 1 p.m. and will be webcast.
In the preseason Coaches Poll, York received 65 points putting them just outside the NAIA's top 25. They finished the 2012 season 42-16, winning their 3rd consecutive MCAC title and earning an invitation to the opening round of the NAIA Championships. Coach Harlan and Associate Head Coach Brian Walth enter their tenth year directing the program, averaging 35 wins per year while amassing an overall record of 280-159.
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