The Adrian College baseball team and junior outfielder Andrew DeLuca (14), shown in a photo from the 2011 season, are gearing up to start the 2012 season.


As the first half of the semester winds down and students head out to various spring break destinations, the Adrian College baseball team has other plans for their break. This year the team will once again travel down South for preseason games to prepare for the start of the regular season.

“We look forward to traveling down south every year, the teams they have scheduled for us are very competitive, which is going to help prepare us for league play,” senior outfielder and captain Kyle Strawn said.

Over the last decade the team has developed itself into one of the premier programs in the state. In the last four years alone the team has won their conference and even advanced to the College Baseball World Series, where the team finished as Regional Champs and the fourth best team in Division 3.

After last season, the team lost ten players to graduation, including MIAA Player of the Year Brian Bilius, MIAA Pitcher of the Year David Partyka, and All-Conference selections Ryan Domschott, Jake Cappelletty, Joe Dubina, and Nate Sarkissia. Over the years, the program has been able to recruit and graduate many talented young men, and this year appears to be no different for the team.

In fact, the team has done such a good job at recruiting and developing their players that even with the loss of ten key seniors they’re still confident in their abilities. The team is already been ranked 26 in the Collegiate Preseason Poll, and has also been selected to win their fourth consecutive MIAA Championship in a preseason coaches’ poll.

“This is one of the most exciting and scrappier teams we’ve had here at Adrian, so this season should be fun,” said senior captain Jayson Fryman, who pitches on the team.

The Bulldogs begin their season this weekend by traveling to Georgia to play three games in three days at Piedmont College. While at Piedmont, the team will face Blackburn College from IL, the undefeated and currently fourth ranked Christopher Newport, and will end their weekend by facing host and 24th ranked Piedmont.

After their games at Piedmont the team will head to Port Charlotte, FL to play another four games before heading home. There the team will face off against John Jay University  Feb. 29, Capital University March 1-2 and will end their trip against Medaille College March 3.

Looking at their  upcoming schedule, the team knows that they face a tough road ahead to start their season.

“It’s a big early season measuring test, by playing teams down south, we have a slight disadvantage because we don’t go outside as much,” said head coach Craig Rainey. “It looks good to play those southern teams to see how they measure up, which they have fared well against in the past.”

The Bulldogs will begin league play March 24, when they head to Hope College for a double-header at 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. The team will have a day off from games before taking on Hope once again in a double-header at home starting at 2 p.m. with the second game slated for a 4:30 p.m. start time.