A quartet of Stetson Hatters had a big hand in helping the Waynesboro Generals to a Valley League Baseball title this summer.
The four Hatters – shortstop Tyler Bocock, first baseman Patrick Mazeika, pitcher Josh Thorne and utility player Kevin Fagan – played for coach Mike Bocock, who had seven previous Valley League titles to his credit, but was in his first season in Waynesboro.
During the summer season, the Generals struggled. The team finished the year with a .500 record, 10 games behind the South Division champions from Harrisonburg. Those two teams met in the first round of the playoffs and, even though Waynesboro was 0-6 against the Turks in the regular season, the Generals swept the best of three playoff series with 11-2 and 4-3 victories.
It was Fagan who clinched the series with a two-out, tw0-run walk-off single in the second game.
Waynesboro the fell behind New Market in the round two, losing the opening game 6-5 in 10 innings before bouncing back to force a deciding game three with a 12-3 victory in Game 2. The Generals pushed their way into the Valley League Championship series with a 3-0 victory in Game 3.
The Championship series against Strasburg started with a shutout loss, but the Generals came back with a 5-1 win in Game 2 to force a one game championship, a game Waynesboro won 6-3 on August 7.
The trio of Hatters had a big hand in winning the title. Bocock was the lone member of the team to earn All-Valley League honors, hitting .311 in 44 games with 10 doubles and 23 RBI. Mazeika, who joined the team mid-way through the season, was the leading hitter on the squad, batting .382 in 24 games with seven doubles and 18 RBI.
Thorne saw action on the mound in 16 games, all in relief, posting a 1.98 ERA in 22.2 innings of work with 21 strikeouts. He was 2-0 with two saves. Fagan saw only limited action for the team as a result of the shoulder injury he suffered last spring. He played in just four games during the regular season, but played in all eight playoff games, delivering four hits, including a homer, and driving in four runs.
Other Hatters also had success over the summer.
Junior Darby McCormick played for the Southern Maryland Nationals in the Cal Ripken Sr. League and finished the year hitting .274 in 31 games with a home run and nine RBI. Stetson teammate Kyle Pitts was also on that squad and finished with a .307 average and also drove in nine runs.
Junior catcher Garrett Russini also played in the Cal Ripken League for the Youse’s Orioles. In 26 games he hit .274 with a triple and five RBI.
Pitcher Ben Rakus played for the Holyoke Blue Sox in the Northeast Collegiate Baseball League and finished the summer with a 4-2 record to go with a sparkling 0.96 ERA. He made 15 appearances, all in relief, and recorded 17 strikeouts in 18.2 innings of work and earned three saves.
Junior infielder K'shawn Smith played for the Utica Brewers in the Perfect Game Collegiate League and hit .279 for the summer in 42 games with 14 doubles, a homer and 16 runs driven in. Smith was also 16-of-21 on stolen base attempts.
Junior outfielder Kyle Zech played for the Southampton Beakers of the Hampton’s Collegiate League and finished second in the league with a .343 average. He playe din 29 games and drove in 13 runs to go with 12 stolen bases.
A trio of other Hatters stayed home and played for the DeLand Suns in the Florida League. Tanner Blackman finished the summer with a .236 average with 10 RBI and 15 stolen bases while Jake Pequignot hit .182 in 22 games with a homer and five RBI. On the mound, Tyler Warmoth pitched in just four games, throwing a total of 7.1 innings. Blackman also made two appearances on the mound, throwing six innings.
The Hatters will return to the field as a team at Stetson on October 1 with the start of fall practice. Fall camp will run through the first week of November and will once again include an exhibition game against the Canadian Junior National Team. That game is scheduled for Sunday, October 6, at 6:30 p.m. at Melching Field.
The 2014 Hatters roster will include 13 first year players and will mark the 35th season on the bench for head coach Pete Dunn. The Hatters will open the season in February with a three-game home series against the Ole Miss Rebels.