After finishing eighth in the Presidents’ Athletic Conference in 2015 season, Geneva baseball enters the 2016 season with high hopes to build on the solid foundation of the experience gained last season.
Senior shortstop switch hitter Andy Santana (San Pedro de Marcoris, DR/Desert Christian) returns as the top returning hitter after a .372 batting average during his junior campaign. He had 32 hits and 20 runs batted in. Supporting the offense is returning sophomore centerfielder Tyler Pagaduan (Voorhess, NJ/Eastern Regional). Pagaduan’s rookie season .329 hitting average gives Geneva depth in the batting order. Senior left-handed hitting second baseman JC Ackerman (Lewis Center, OH/Worthington Christian) returns hitting .276 last season in 105 at bats.
Senior starting catcher righty hitter Aaron Witman (Greencastle, PA/Shalom Christian Academy) (pictured above) returns as a big part of the 2016 squad. Witman's 30 hits including 12 doubles and 22 RBIs earning a .297 hitting average has been a consistent pillar for Geneva's offense.
Senior outfielder Joe Galante (Emsworth, PA/Avonworth) returns with experience for Geneva's defense.
Geneva returns to the mound 12 members of the 2016 staff. Senior righty Zach Ackerman (Lewis Center, OH/Worthington Christian) lead Geneva’s staff last year earning a 3.66 ERA with a 3-5 pitching record. In 66.1 innings, he had 52 strike outs.
The Golden Tornadoes will also return junior righty Jeff Parker (Green Brook, NJ/Timothy Christian) who started ten games, pitching 52.2 innings. Senior righty Drew Nichols (New Wilmington, PA/Wilmington) returns with three years of experience, pitching 44.0 innings in 2015.
Also gaining valuable experience last year were senior righty Tanner Propst (Chambersburg, PA/Cumberland Valley Christian) with 16 appearances and senior righty Ian Macdonald (Grantham, PA/West Shore Christian Academy) with three starts. Geneva’s deep roster and strong senior class has them hopeful for a bid in the President’s Athletic Conference post season.
According to head coach Alan Sumner, the team has been right on the edge of the post season cut-off for the past couple years, and are hoping to finally break into the playoffs in 2016.
“We’re looking for good things, and we think we have a team that can compete this year. The guys have been working really hard ever since January to get prepared… they’re ready to get going,” Sumner said.
Boasting 31 active players, Geneva is planning on expanding their Junior Varsity season as well. They will play 11 games this season, almost twice the amount of their previous seasons.
The 2016 Geneva baseball season will begin in Fort Pierce, Florida over spring break, with a double header against Marywood University on March 8 at 10 a.m.