Cardinals Shine on Summer Diamonds
MUNCIE - The 2013 Ball State baseball season shaped up into an historic one for the program, but it was marked just the start of the year for a handful of Cardinals. Once summer hits, college baseball players from around the country spread out to various summer wood bat leagues. From Chatham, MA to Walla Walla, WA, players gain valuable experience, work on their games, sometimes return from injuries and maybe most importantly, play in front of pro scouts.
This summer seven Cardinals have taken to the wood bat leagues, with three in the Great Lakes League, two in the Hamptons and one each in the West Coast League and the prestigious Coastal Plains League.
Rising senior Sean Godfrey was one of the Cardinals biggest catalysts on offense in 2013, and carried that success to the Wilson (NC) Tobs of the CPL. A founding member of the Coastal Plains League in 1997, the Tobs have previously been home to the likes of Major Leaguers Justin Verlander (Old Dominion) and Brad Eldred (Florida International). Appearing in 21 games this summer, Godfrey is batting .247 with two homeruns and 17 RBI. He's also stolen eight bags and his nine hit by pitches rank second in the league.
An All-MAC Tournament team performer, Sam Tidaback has had no letdown in the summer season. The catcher is sixth in the Great Lakes League in batting, hitting .319 with eight RBI in 22 games for the Lake Erie Monarchs. Shortstop Elbert DeVarie his .208 in 17 games with Lake Erie before completing his summer schedule. For his efforts, Tidaback was named an All-Star.
Rounding out the Cardinals position players, Ryan Spaulding has hit .308 thus far for the West Hampton Aviators of the Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League. Ball State's second baseman has also knocked in 12 while stealing eight bases.
Three BSU pitchers have worked on the mound through June and July, all seeing significant innings. Most notable is the continued success of Tyler Jordan. After setting a program record with 32 appearances in 2013, the sideslinging Jordan has added another 10 games and 15 innings of work for the Grand Lake Mariners of the Great Lakes League. Jordan has a 2.40 ERA, allowing just 14 hits and racking up three saves.
While Jordan has continued to work out of the bullpen, two Cardinals relievers have made names for themselves this summer as starters. Rising senior Chris Lovejoy has traveled the furthest from Muncie but stayed fairly close to home. The California native is starting for the West Coast League's Walla Walla (WA) Sweets. In eight outings (six starts) Lovejoy has collected 36.1 innings and a 3.96 ERA. The lefty is 2-1 with 28 strikeouts. The Sweets are in just their fourth season of existence and are owned in part by former Major Leaguer Jeff Cirillo.
Rounding out the Cardinals summer lineup is southpaw Kyle Raleigh. A teammate of Spaulding in West Hampton, Raleigh has started five games for the Aviators this year. In seven total outings he has 24 strikeouts and an ERA of 3.21. Both he and Spaulding were named all-stars in the Hamptons League.