College of the Albemarle’s baseball team returns 16 sophomores and welcomes 15 freshmen to a program coming off its most successful season since the sport was resurrected in 2010.
The Dolphins finished last season 27-23 – an eight-win improvement over 2012 – but a 4-3 loss to Lenoir in the 2013 finale kept COA out of the National Junior College Athletic Association Region 10 tournament.
“I definitely see that we have a really good chance to win as much as we want to win,” said Tyler Woodhouse, a sophomore returning pitcher and Camden County High School graduate. “I feel like we’re a lot more well-rounded. We’ve got more pitchers and we’re a better hitting team. That’s what’s going to be the difference.”
Woodhouse is among a handful of pitchers returning from a team that compiled a 2.97 team ERA. Right-hander Travis Davis led Dolphins’ regulars last season with a 2.30 ERA in 18 appearances, while three fellow returners also played key roles on the mound last season as freshmen: right-hander Brandon Marsh (2.62), left-hander Woodhouse (2.65) and right-hander Austin Lilly (2.75).
Davis, from Asheboro, N.C., also batted .375 last season, and is joined in the lineup by Woodhouse (.273 batting average) and catcher Cody Foreman. Foreman, a sophomore from Swansboro, N.C., was among the team leaders last season with 45 hits, and he finished with 16 RBIs and a .259 batting average.
Among the newcomers expected to contribute right away are pitcher/outfielder Cedric Henry, a Suffolk, Va., native who attended King’s Fork High; and infielder Brent West, who arrives from Atlee High in Mechanicsville, Va.
“We have some pretty good hitters this year and we have some transfers that are going to help us out,” said assistant coach Juan Carlos Calderon, who joins the Dolphins’ staff this year in head coach Milan Rasic’s third season.
“We’ve been talking about winning the conference as a team goal,” Foreman said. “We all see we have the talent, and we all want to go as far as possible.”
The Dolphins were scheduled to play their home opener of their fifth season on Feb. 15, but it was postponed until Feb. 22 because of inclement weather.
For more information, call COA Athletic Director Jeff Carter at 335-0821 x 2260, or COA Baseball Coach Milan Rasic at 335-0821 x 2996.