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Mustangs ready to ride

Pitching will determine how far The Master’s College goes this season

Posted: January 22, 2009 10:15 p.m.
Updated: January 23, 2009 4:56 a.m.

Tim Woodward will lead The Master's College's pitching staff, which could determine how much success the Mustangs enjoy this season.

 

The 2009 season looks like a promising one for the The Master’s College baseball team.

With a glut of returning players, including a trio of All-Americans, the Mustangs look primed to reach the postseason for the first time since 2004.

“This team has a fabulous make-up, and they have great unity,” said head coach Monte Brooks. “It’s an unselfish group that honors God through action and attitude. The character of this team has really made an impression on me.”

The Mustangs look to make it to the NAIA World Series. Their pitching staff, backed by returning All-Americans Joe Zeller and Tim Woodward, makes a deep postseason run a very real possibility.

“We should win the league,” Zeller said. “Virtually everyone is back from last year, and I think we’ll be able to find a way to score more runs.”

Producing more runs will hinge on Zeller’s ability to get on base and a potent heart of the Mustang order.

“We have some strong RBI guys,” Brooks said. “It’s going to be tough for teams to get through our three to six guys in the order.”

Catcher Tyler Diamond, infielder Caleb Mintz, outfielder Eric Blackwell, and infielder Michael Bando will be in charge of knocking home most of the runs in an offense that figures to be more potent than the 2008 Mustangs order.

While added run production will be important, the team’s success will still hinge on its pitching, and Diamond will serve as a major key.

“I just try to take the pressure off the guys on the mound,” Diamond said. “All I want them to have to think about is focusing on hitting the glove. Our pitching staff is deep enough to make the World Series so I don’t want them to have to worry about anything other than getting the ball where it’s supposed to be.”

Behind Zeller and Woodward, who both went 10-4 last season, the Mustangs figure to run Graham Miller and Tyler Bersano to the mound as starters, while Dylan Jones and Kyle Nungester will anchor the bullpen.

“We need to play to our standards,” Woodward said. “We can’t just play to the level of the team we’re playing. We need to play at the level we’re capable of every game. We’re a good enough team to win every game.”

The Mustang offense is led by Zeller and Diamond, who both hit more than .360 last year. Diamond slugged .649 and Zeller’s on base percentage was .451.

The Master’s College will try to capture its first win Friday against Patten at Reese Field. After a four-game home stand, the Mustangs are slated to fly across the country to take on Northwood in Palm Beach, Fla.

kdamore@the-signal.com

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