Baseball: Raiders Hope 13 is a Good Number in 2019

Baseball: Raiders Hope 13 is a Good Number in 2019

ALLIANCE, Ohio -- Mount Union's baseball team hopes 13 is a lucky number as 13 letterwinners return for the Purple Raiders, who open their season Thursday, March 7 against Widener (Pa.) in the start of its annual spring break trip to Florida. 

Veteran head coach Paul Hesse, in his 23rd season, has three senior standouts -- outfielders Billy Goodall (Canfield / South Range) and Nate Owen (Cranberry Twp., Pa. / Seneca Valley) and pitcher Phil Mary (Venetia, Pa. / Peters Township) -- that headline the returners who look to lead a squad that hopes to contend for an Ohio Athletic Conference title.

An All-American in 2017, Goodall was an All-OAC second team selection in 2018, who finished last season with a .366 batting average posting 45 hits in 123 at-bats with a team-high 11 doubles and 19 runs batted in.

Owen recorded a .298 batting average over 121 at-bats and hit 10 doubles with 15 runs batted in along with 11 stolen bases last season.

Mary started 12 games and posted a 5-5 record with a 3.62 earned run average with 82 strikeouts over 82.0 innings in 2018 on his way to All-OAC honorable mention honors. Like Goodall, he hopes to return to form that got him 10 wins and All-American honors in 2017. 

Other key returners for the Raiders include, senior left hander Nick Satovich (Pittsburgh, Pa. / Plum) who will pitch as he had a 4.37 earned run average over 59.2 career innings pitched and will also play over at first base.

Seniors Bryant Kennedy (Chagrin Falls), Scott Cooney (North Olmsted) and Niklas Kuriger (Atco, N.J. / Winslow Township) are penciled in at third base, second base and in the outfield respectively. In 2018, Kennedy hit .250 in 24 games, Cooney hit .345 in 26 games and Kuriger hit .296 in 27 games.

Three will see time behind the plate doing the catching duties in sophomore Coleman Stauffer (Boardman) along with senior Jake Smith (Salem / West Branch) and junior Travis Wood (Hudson).

Sophomore Joey Nave (Toronto/Edison) will start at shortstop while the two relievers that are back are sophomore Colin Skufca (Wooster) and junior Tyler Gorse (Glenshaw, Pa. / Shady Side Academy)

Mount Union starts OAC play on Saturday, March 23 with a 1 p.m. doubleheader at Otterbein in Westerville.