Baseball adds fresh faces for new season

In 2020, Nick Black’s squad looks to improve upon their 15-24 record from 2019. Their large incoming class of first-years will attempt to fill the hole left by an impactful graduating class.

“We saw as a team last year that we can be a really good ball club if we come to work every day with a mindset that we want to be at least 1% better each day,” said senior Ryan Hill. “If we can take that mindset and ramp it up this year, we will be an exciting club to watch in the ODAC.”

The 2020 Quakers bring in 17 first-years, one transfer and return 25 student-athletes for this season.

“Having a lot of older guys has allowed us to guide the younger guys and transfers into the system with ease even with the coaches not being able to be around,” senior Dylan Tuttle said. “There has been a ton of energy when we come to practice each day so that makes it sweeter as well.”

“I think there will be some new faces in the lineup along with some guys that have been here for a while,” Coach Black said. “We have a great senior class, and most of all those guys are consistent contributors. Losing Mitchell (Stumpo) and Rhett (Miller) will be tough. They were our main horses on the mound but I think we have some guys that can come in and be consistent.”

Mitchell Stumpo ‘19 earned Second Team All-Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) recognition in his final season. He made the team as a utility player after receiving 2017 Second Team All-ODAC honors as an outfielder. He led the team in several categories, triples (5), slugging percentage (.463) and runs (5).

Stumpo signed a free-agent deal with the MLB’s Arizona Diamondbacks last June. He competed over the summer with Diamondback affiliate, the Missoula Paddlehead (formerly Missoula Ospreys).

Senior Ryan Hill will look to continue his consistent production in his final season. The utility player had a team-high .321 batting average in 36 games, ranked second on the team in slugging percentage (.463), hits (45) and runs batted in (19).

“I feel that my persistence and consistency with my preparation and workouts have helped physically,” remarked Hill. “Being coached by Coach Black and Coach Booker, and playing with guys like Josh Shepard ‘18 and Logan Jones ‘17, who talked about the mental side of the game with me, has become a huge key. They’ve always reminded me to stay the course and never waiver.”

Also returning in 2020 is senior Brett Shapcott. In 2019, Shapcott had a .321 batting average in 37 games. The outfielder led the Quakers with 22 RBI and a .400 on-base percentage.

Tuttle enters this season after leading the team in hits in 2019. He did so while recording the fewest number of strikeouts of any player on the team with more than 15 at-bats.

“I feel as though the team as a whole is the most prepared for this upcoming season that we have been since I’ve been at Guilford,” Tuttle remarked. “We have spent a lot more time on the field and in the weight room improving, and I feel like once the season starts all of this hard work we have put in over the off-season will pay off.”

Tuttle ranked third on the team with a .301 batting average in 38 games. He also pitched 17.2 innings last season, striking out 14 and earning a 1.02 ERA.

“The biggest challenge from the start of the season to the end will be us staying focused as a team every day we come to work,” Hill said. “If we have all of our guys 100% focused, the Quakers will be a dangerous team.”

Editor’s note: This story originally was published in Volume 106, Issue 9 of The Guilfordian on Jan. 24, 2020.