Tiffin, Ohio – January 20, 2011 – Led by veteran head coach Matt Palm, the Heidelberg University baseball team has been voted no. 1 in the preseason poll released by D3Baseball.com this afternoon. The Berg received 19 of a possible 25 first-place votes.
The 2011 season for the Berg comes on the heels of the program winning its fourth straight, fifth overall, Ohio Athletic Conference Regular Season Championship, and its third consecutive, fourth overall OAC Tournament trophy. The Berg also added to its storied history by winning its first Mideast Regional Championship and made its first appearance at the NCAA Division III Baseball Championships. En route to its championships, Heidelberg compiled a program-best 42-8 overall record.
The cupboard is far from bare this season as the Berg returns seven position players, four starters on the mound and its top closer from its record breaking season.
Returning in the infield is four-year starters, and All-Americans, third baseman Willie Brechun (Canton, Ohio / Canton Central Catholic), short stop Jason Lash (Strongsville, Ohio / Strongsville) and second baseman Gar Keen (Sparta, Ohio / Highland). Rounding out the infield is returning starter senior first baseman Derek Andrzejczak (Sylvania, Ohio / Sylvania Northview).
The outfield returns familiar faces as well in junior right field All-American Ricardo Lizcano (Toledo, Ohio / Roy C. Start), along with senior center fielder Andrew Buelow (Marysville, Mich. / Marysville) and senior left fielder Alex Monroe (Chagrin Falls, Ohio / Kenston). Providing versatility in the outfield, when not on the mound or serving as the designated hitter, is junior Elvin Williams (Euclid, Ohio / Euclid).
The Berg pitching staff is led by All-American closer and the career saves leader Andy Lowe (Fort Wayne, Ind. / Carroll). Getting the ball in the first inning are starters senior right-handers Nathan James (Rockport, Ind. / South Spencer) and Brian Koehl (Sylvania, Ohio / Sylvania Northview). Rounding out the returning starters are junior right-hander Sylvania Nino (Willard, Ohio / Willard) and sophomore right-hander Ethan Holt (Galion, Ohio / West Holmes).
Prior to the holiday season, Heidelberg was also voted first in the nation in a preseason poll released by the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper.
Heidelberg will begin its quest at another run to Appleton on March 6. The Berg will face off with the College of Mount St. Joseph in its first of 10 games at the Snowbird Classic in Port Charlotte, Fla.