By Brayden Nuessen
The Hawks are expected to have a successful season this year. The team is favored to win the Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC) West title. The Hawks will begin the season ranked at 22 in the country.
QU Head Baseball Coach, Josh Rabe, explains that expectations are high going into this year.
“We are in a place right now where we expect to succeed on a yearly basis and get back (to) the NCAA Midwest Regional Tournament,” Rabe said.
The Hawks lost three of their top players to the Major League Baseball draft and graduation, but Rabe believes he still has a strong team.
“We lost a couple of seniors last year, but fortunately for us, we have lots of good people coming back,” Rabe said.
The Hawks are favored to win the conference. They also have two seniors (Dominic Miles and Jake Walters) named as the Midwest Region Preseason All-Americans by the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper (CBN).
It looks like Dominic Miles will lead his team this year in center field. He had a .384 batting average with seven home runs and 50 RBIs last year. He is currently 9 hits away from an all-time hits record, previously held by Mitchell Broughton.
Jake Walters is playing second base. He had 12 home runs last year. He also had 60 RBIs while hitting .353.
“I am really excited, and I think we are going to be really good this year,” Walters said.
CBN also named Brynn Martinez as a player to watch in the Midwest Region and Hunter Haynes as a newcomer to watch this year.
Brynn Martinez was a leadoff hitter and a starting shortstop for the Hawks last year and will play a big role for them this season. He hit a .331 average with six home runs and 39 RBI.
Hunter Haynes was drafted out of high school in the 13th round of the 2012 Major League Baseball draft by the Kansas City Royals organization. He decided to come back, with one year of eligibility left, and pitch for the Hawks.
Haynes is expected to be in the front of the rotation with Graham Spraker and Tommy Hager, who both missed last year due to injuries.
The team will travel to Tennessee to play the first game of the year against Saint Joseph on Friday, February 17.
The Hawks will play two more games that weekend and travel to Georgia to play three more.
The Hawks will stay home in March.
“We haven’t had a chance to play most home games the last couple years, and it finally came through for us this year with all of these home games,” Rabe said.
The first home game is a double-header, which is scheduled on Saturday, March 4 at noon and 3 p.m.
The Hawks roster and schedule can be viewed on the QU Baseball page.