For many of Belmont’s baseball players, summer doesn’t mean vacation.
Finishing their 2020-2021 Ohio Valley Conference run by receiving the OVC Team Sportsmanship Award for the sixth time, 19 Bruins sought action in the collegiate summer baseball leagues around the country — with mixed success.
“We have a good number of players that went out and competed and had very strong performances this summer,” said Belmont baseball head coach Dave Jarvis. “Several of them competed in the championship game of their leagues with five or six of our guys winning their summer championships.”
For pitcher Joshua South and his West Virginia Black Bears in Granville, West Virginia, the wood-bat inaugural season resulted in a second place finish and a 0.582 winning percentage. South recorded a 3.86 earned run average in his first appearance in the newly founded MLB Draft League.
“It was a really amazing experience,” South said. “The level of competition was higher than what we normally see here at Belmont and made it that much more challenging.”
After gaining a lot of experience from his summer play, South looks forward to putting on his Belmont jersey again and is excited to see how newcomers and veteran Bruins will contribute to the team this season, he said.
Belmont teammates Jalen Borders, Jackson Campbell and Grayson Taylor reached new heights with Cape Catfish as winners of the Prospect League Championship.
After a hard-fought season with the Missouri team, Borders posted a 3.27 ERA while Grayson earned a 0.886 fielding percentage playing shortstop and Campbell a 0.97 FPCT as one of the team’s four catchers.
Another team with three Bruins on its summer roster was the Tri-City Chili Peppers of Colonial Heights, Virginia, with whom Jack Capobianco, Tommy Cider and Logan Jarvis played 43 games.
Competing in the Coastal Plain League, they concluded their season at the bottom of the eastern division, despite an individual performance of ten home runs for Jarvis over the course of the season. Capobianco also showed up with a 1.0 FPCT after 15 games at third base.
Also in the eastern division, the Wilmington Sharks clinched third place as Belmont teammate John Behrends hit .328 for the North Carolina team.
Other Bruins reached higher in the team standings; Mason Landers and Guy Lipscomb climbed all the way to the top with their Dubois County Bombers out of Huntingburg, Indiana, in the north group of the Ohio Valley League.
With the Bruins now back on campus, Jarvis looks forward to assembling the team again.
With various successes over the past few months, the baseball team is moving into fall practice with new players, new staff and a new facility.
Nick Bredeson joins the staff roster as a volunteer assistant coach, most recently an assistant coach and former student-athlete at Ohio University.
“Coach Nick Bredeson is a very high quality individual and coach that really fits in well on our staff and I am very excited about what I know he brings to our program,” Jarvis said.
Excited about new players who will complement the team well, and with new practice space, sports offices and locker rooms located by the home pitch at E.S. Rose Park, Jarvis looks forward to what lies ahead.
“The opening of the facility will be such a tremendous addition for our program in so many ways,” he said. “It is also going to be such a great benefit in recruiting, team building and practice for not only baseball and softball, but golf having space for practice reps as well.”
A date for the grand opening is not set, but it will soon be on the calendar, Jarvis said.
This article was written by Jessica Mattsson. Photo by Sarah Maninger.