Ottawa University baseball team selected third in KCAC preseason poll

By The Herald Staff

The Ottawa University baseball team is taking big strides under coach Gabe Grinder.

Others are starting to notice. The Braves were selected to finish third in the KCAC by the conference coaches. It is the highest selection for the Braves in the past 15 years.

"Our guys are excited to be voted as one of the three best teams in the preseason poll," Ottawa baseball coach Gabe Grinder said. "The preseason ranking is a testament to the 2020 team's toughness, grit and desire to win. We return our entire starting lineup, pitching staff and have added in some great new talent. The guys understand the task that is in front of them and they are ready to get the year started. This 2021 team knows that the preseason ranking is based off last year's team and they are hungry to create their own story. It will be exciting to watch our guys take the field and compete for each other."

Selected first by the conference coaches was Tabor College. The Bluejays received 109 points and six-first place votes. In second was Oklahoma Wesleyan University.The Eagles earned 100 points and two first-place votes. Ottawa received 99 points.

In fourth, McPherson College (90), fifth Bethany College (89/2 FPV), sixth Friends University (79), seventh Southwestern College (53), eighth Sterling College (52), ninth Kansas Wesleyan University (45), 10th York College (35), 11th Avila University (17), and 12th University of Saint Mary (13).

In 2020, Ottawa had with its first winning record since the 2010 season, finishing with an overall record of 17-9 and a KCAC record of 6-2. The Braves finished the year ranked 15th in the NAIA in total triples (8), 17th in RBI (180), 17th in total assists (234), 18th in total batters struck out (212), 20th in total hits (248), 20th in total runs scored (195), 23rd in slugging percentage (.489), 26th in caught stealing per game (0.6), 26th in homeruns per game (1), 29th in RBI per game (6.9), 29th in batting average (.315), 29th in hits per game (9.5), 30th in total chances (858), 31st in total at bats (787), 35th in runs scored per game (7.5), 36th in triples per game (0.3), 38th in total put outs (583), 39th in total innings pitched (194.1), and 49th in total doubles (43).

The Braves open the 2021 season on Thursday, Feb. 4, against Evangel University in Springfield, Mo.