January 23, 2013

King Picked Third in Conference Preseason Poll

Conference Carolinas released the 2013 Preseason Coaches' Poll on Wednesday, citing King as being to finish third after a trip to the conference tournament last season.

HIGH POINT, N.C. – King Baseball has been selected to finish third in Conference Carolinas after the league released the 2013 Preseason Coaches' Poll, Wednesday morning. The Tornado will begin their season on Feb. 1 at the Carolinas Hospital System Baseball Classic, hosted by Francis Marion University, with hopes to repeat last year's conference tournament appearance in its first year as a league member.

King enters the season bringing back a wealth of experience from last year's 30-win squad and continues to reload with quality contributors to both sides of the lineup. The Tornado return all three weekend starters from last year's staff, led by All-Conference selection Cory Rhodes. He finished second in Conference Carolinas in wins (9) and complete games (7), and third in strikeouts (74). Rhodes will be rejoined by senior Wesley Houser and junior left-hander Reiss Stanley who combined for 13 wins. The staff will be deepened with the return of RHP Alex Martin who missed last season due to injury and went 4-1 in 2011. The bullpen will feature a wealth of competition between its returners and incoming first-year players to improve a relief staff that won seven games and saved six a season ago.

Many of last year's position players return including All-Conference selections Stephen Mullins (So., 3B) and Tyler Gaby (r-Jr., OF). Gaby finished last season ranked first in NCAA Division II in triples per game (0.23), totaling nine on the year while leading the team in batting average (.386), doubles (12), triples, and extra-base hits (22). Mullins came off the bench and took over duties in the hot corner with a flashy glove (.953 fld%) and reliable bat. Junior Cody Snyder will anchor the middle of the infield serving as the model of consistency both in the field and at the plate. Junior Garrett Cook returns as the Tornado's top outfielder after leading the team in home runs (7) and lighting up the base paths with 16 stolen bases.

King welcomes 11 transfer students and six freshmen to the 2013 lineup with high hopes that the incoming youth will complement the returning pop in the lineup on firepower on the mound for a return trip to the Conference Carolinas Tournament.

Ranked No. 3 in this year's Collegiate Baseball Division II Top 40 Preseason Poll, preseason-favorite Mount Olive hopes to build on a successful 2012 season, which saw the Trojans win their third consecutive Conference Carolinas and regular season championships, earn a No. 1 ranking in the Collegiate Baseball Division II Top 25 and play host to the NCAA II Southeast Regional for the second straight year. The Trojans were 44-10 overall and 21-5 in conference play.

Belmont Abbey was picked to finish second in the league after capturing the Western Division Championship in 2012.

Following King in the preseason poll are Erskine, North Greenville, Limestone, Pfeiffer, Coker, and Barton, respectively.

The Tornado will begin the 2013 season at the Carolinas Hospital System Baseball Classic, hosted by Francis Marion University. They will begin by playing Belmont Abbey in a nonconference meeting on Feb. 1 for the season opener and then follow with Francis Marion (Feb. 2), and Claflin University (Feb. 3). They will break into their first Conference Carolinas games on Feb. 22 at Belmont Abbey. The Tornado's first home game is on Feb. 13 against regional foe, Mars Hill College.

The complete 2013 schedule can be found at www.KingTornado.com or by click here.

For the Conference Carolinas release, click here.

Last year, King finished the season 30-20 overall, 16-11 in Conference Carolinas. They finished second in the West Division, just one game behind Belmont Abbey in a series that came down to the final game to determine the division winner.

 

2013 Conference Carolinas
Baseball Preseason Coaches' Poll

No.

Team

Points 
(first-place votes)

1.

Mount Olive

63 (7)

2.

Belmont Abbey

54 (1)

3.

King

44

4.

Erskine

42

5.

North Greenville

32 (1)

6.

Limestone

31

7.

Pfeiffer

22

8.

Coker

21

9.

Barton

15