FREELAND, Mich. – A preseason poll of Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association baseball coaches reveals consensus that Adrian will repeat as MIAA champions for the 2018 season.
Adrian received seven of a possible seven first-place votes (coaches cannot vote for their own teams) for seven points, with Hope ranking second with 14 points, including the remaining first-place vote. Kalamazoo garnered 23 points to rank third, while Calvin and Trine tied for fourth place with 29 points. Albion and Alma shared sixth place with 37 points, while Olivet rounded out the poll with 48 points for eighth place.
Adrian (34-13 in 2017, 23-5 MIAA) lifted the MIAA Tournament trophy last season after a 3-1 record, including an 8-3 win over Kalamazoo in the championship game. Returning for the Bulldogs is 2017 MIAA Co-Pitcher of the Year Tommy Parsons (Sr., New Albany, Ohio) as well as First-Team All-MIAA selections Pierce Banks (So., Sterling Heights, Mich.) and Frank Resto (Sr., Miami, Fla.).
Hope (24-18, 17-11) advanced to the 2017 MIAA Tournament and gave Kalamazoo all they could handle in a 10-inning, 8-7 setback in the opening round. Hope will rely on Second-Team All-MIAA picks Jordon Fairchild (Jr., Muskegon, Mich.) and Mason Opple (So., Hudsonville, Mich.) in 2018.
Kalamazoo (31-14, 20-8) forced a second championship game against Adrian last year at the 2017 MIAA Tournament after finishing second during the MIAA regular season. 2017 MIAA Co-Pitcher of the Year Ryan Orr (Sr., DeWitt, Mich.) returns for the Hornets.
Calvin (20-23, 13-15) aims to improve on last season's 13-15 MIAA record after the Knights advanced to the MIAA Tournament. Second-Team All-MIAA selections Jonathan Keane (So., Brookfield, Wis.) and Colton Wolfe (Sr., Eaton Rapids, Mich.) return for 2018.
Trine (19-18, 13-15) just missed out on postseason play after finishing tied for fourth during the 2017 MIAA regular season. Among Trine's returnees are First-Team All-MIAA honoree Jacob Heller (Jr., Fort Wayne, Ind.).
The 2018 campaign begins the weekend of Feb. 23, with Olivet and Alma taking the field. MIAA competition begins Thursday, March 22, with a doubleheader between Kalamazoo and Trine. The 2018 MIAA Baseball Tournament is set for May 9-11 and will be hosted by highest seeds from regular season competition.