Centenary Picked Fourth in Mid-Con Baseball Preseason Poll
Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Files associated with this release:
2006 Mid-Con Preseason Baseball Poll

Tim Ryan

Alex Valdivia

David McElroy

Will Kaage

Brandon Fulenchek

ELMHURST, Ill. – Coming off an appearance in the Mid-Continent Conference Championship game last season, the Centenary baseball team has been tabbed to finish fourth in 2006 by a vote of the league’s coaches.  The Gents collected 20 points, finishing behind defending champs Oral Roberts (36 points, 6 first place votes), Western Illinois (29 points), and Southern Utah (25 points, 1 first place vote).  Rounding out the voting was Oakland (16 points), Valparaiso (15 points), and Chicago State (6 points).


The Gents are coming off a 27-30 season, the best under reigning Mid-Con Coach of the Year Ed McCann, and finished the conference slate with a 12-12 mark, Centenary’s best since 1995.  Returning five position player starters and the majority of their pitching staff, the Maroon and White looks poised to make their third appearance in the conference tournament in as many seasons of Mid-Con play.


Centenary will rely on returning seniors Justin Darr, A.J. Howes, Tim Ryan, and Alex Valdivia to provide the offensive attack in 2006.  Returning sophomore catcher Alex Maldonado hopes to carry his hot play down the stretch of last season’s campaign to this season.  Joining them are incoming junior transfers Jimmy Baker, Nate Santiago, and Matt Webb, all of whom are expected to provide quality play both in the field and at the plate.


Pitching is expected to provide a strong foundation for the 2006 season as the Gents return eight pitchers, including five starters and their closer, from last season.  Second-team All-Mid-Con pitcher David McElroy returns with eight wins from a year ago, joined by junior Will Kaage’s seven victories.  A senior laden bullpen, led by Kris Calhoun, Jon Christian, and Cam Feightner, should give Centenary extra confidence as games progress.  Also returning are Matt Clark and Mid-Con All-Tournament selection Brandon Fulenchek, while newcomer Johnny Noland should contend for plenty of playing time.


Key losses for the Gents include second-team All-Mid-Con and second-team All-Louisiana shortstop David Kiefer and 2005 Mid-Con All-Tournament selection J.C. Biagi.  Kiefer led or tied all major offensive statistical categories for Centenary, while Biagi played a multitude of positions, including tossing a two hit complete game victory over nationally ranked #2 LSU.


Centenary begins the 2006 on Friday, February 3, as they host Arkansas-Pine Bluff to a three-game series at Shehee Stadium.  The non-conference slate is loaded with big name competition, as the Gents face Arkansas, LSU, and Oklahoma all on the road before starting Mid-Con play in April.