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Season Preview: 2019 Seward County Baseball

Season Preview: 2019 Seward County Baseball

LIBERAL, Kan. – For the first time in nearly four decades, there will be a new man leading the charge for the Seward County baseball team as the Mike Davidson era is set to begin in just nine days.

The Saints are set to return a sophomore class that features five All-Conference selections a season ago in Cayde Ward (1B), Benny Ayala (3B), Joe Kuhn (C), Cole Evans (RHP) and Tanner King (RHP).  Ward, Ayala and Kuhn combined for 36 home runs and 128 RBI during their freshman campaigns, while Evans and King struck out 136 batters a season ago.

Seward returns six other position players to go along with Ward, Ayala and Kuhn – Braxton Allen (INF), Cruz Shope (OF), Ben Tsui (OF), Jordan Kennedy (INF), Owen Martin (OF) and Jose Caraballo (SS). Returning on the mound with Evans and King are Braeden Gould (RHP), Ryan Thomas (LHP) and Ryan Giberson (RHP).

Three sophomores have transferred to play for the Saints this upcoming season.  Right-handed pitcher Jake Lombardelli comes to Seward after spending his freshman year at McCook Community College where he led the Indians in strikeouts.  Fellow right-handed pitcher Chandler Poell – signed with Stephen F. Austin – spent one season at Mount Mercy University (NAIA) in Cedar Rapid, Iowa.  The lone position player to transfer was catcher CJ Fernelius, who spent a year with Evangel University (NAIA).

2019 KJCCC Predicted Order of Finish
Jayhawk West Jayhawk East
  1. Hutchinson
  2. Barton
  3. Seward County
  4. Colby
  5. Butler
  6. Cloud County
  7. Garden City
  8. Dodge City
  9. Pratt
  1. Cowley
  2. Johnson County
  3. Neosho County
  4. Fort Scott
  5. Kansas City KS
  6. Allen
  7. Coffeyville
  8. Highland
  9. Labette

Twelve freshmen will join Seward in 2019. Outfielder AJ Folds (Cheyenne, Wyoming), outfielder Zane Alexander (Del City, Oklahoma), infielder Richard Armijo (Las Vegas, New Mexico), infielder Kason Haggard (Canyon, Texas), right-handed pitcher Jake Hammer (Greeley, Colorado),  catcher Wyatt Grant (Burkburnett, Texas), left-handed pitcher Steven Craddock (Binger, Oklahoma), outfield KP Werner (Greeley, Colorado), first baseman Ben Roach (Springdale, Arkansas), outfielder Robbie Velasquez (Andrews, Texas), right-handed pitcher Rene Ramirez II (Houston, Texas) and left-handed pitcher Cory Didier (Houston, Texas) all look to help the Saints squad that went 30-30 a season ago.

Joining Davidson on the coaching staff will be two former Saints, Paul Pulley and Austin King.  Pulley spent the past three seasons as Assistant Coach at Redlands Community College, while King enters his second season with the Saints.

Seward was predicted to finished 3rd in the Jayhawk West in the preseason coaches poll. Hutchinson was picked to win, with 2018 Region VI Champion Barton predicted to finsih second. 

The Saints will open the season on Friday, February 1 when they travel to Galveston for a three-game series against the Whitecaps.  Their home opener will be against Northeastern on Saturday, February 9th.