FREELAND, Mich. – In a preseason poll of eight Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association baseball coaches, Adrian received all seven possible first-place votes as the team to beat in the 2019 MIAA baseball race.
Adrian was the top selection on all seven possible ballots (coaches cannot vote for their own programs) for seven points. Hope ranked second with 14 points and garnered a first-place vote, while Kalamazoo placed third with 22 points. Alma (31 points) edged Trine (32 points) and Calvin (34 points) for fourth place; Albion (40 points) and Olivet (48 points) wrapped up the preseason poll.
Adrian (35-12 overall in 2018, 24-4 in MIAA), the 2018 regular season and tournament champions for the MIAA, returns First-Team All-MIAA pitcher Jordan Williams (So., P, Westland, Mich) along with fellow first-team selections Brady Wood (Jr., OF, Frankenmuth, Mich.) and Gunner Rainey (Jr., C/OF, Adrian, Mich.). The Bulldogs will also feature Second-Team All-MIAA selection Pierce Banks (Jr., P, Sterling Heights, Mich) on the mound.
Hope (18-24, 14-14) battled close with Adrian in the MIAA tournament final last season, and the Flying Dutch are aiming for a return trip to the title tilt. Back for Hope in 2019 is First-Team All-MIAA honoree Evan Maday (So., OF, Grand Rapids, Mich.) along with Second-Team All-MIAA selections Jordan Fairchild (Sr., 2B, Muskegon, Mich.) and Mason Opple (Jr., OF, Hudsonville, Mich.).
Kalamazoo (20-19, 17-11) finished second in the MIAA standings in 2018. This season, the Hornets will feature First-Team All-MIAA pick Jordan Wiley (Sr., SS, Rochester Hills, Mich.), who registered 24 stolen bases in 28 MIAA contests last spring. Second-Team All-MIAA selection Alex Fultz (Sr., C, Warren, Mich.) also returns for 2019.
Alma (24-19, 16-12) returns Second-Team All-MIAA selection Logan Huff (Jr., IF, Johannesburg, Mich.) for the 2019 campaign along with Max Trucks, who was second in the MIAA last season in walks (19) in MIAA play.
The 2019 campaign gets underway Friday, Feb. 22 when Olivet takes the field against Centre. Trine is scheduled to host Kalamazoo Thursday, March 21, for the first MIAA action of the year. The 2019 MIAA Baseball Tournament will take place Wednesday-Friday, May 8-10; Wednesday's action will be held at highest seeds, with the remainder of the tournament heading to the highest seed.