LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN -- It's been a while since the Covenant baseball team has taken the field. With final exams and graduation ceremonies finished up, the Scots are looking forward to the upcoming NCCAA Mid-East Region tournament which begins on Wednesday afternoon.
Covenant is coming off an impressive regular season as they captured a 25-13 record, just two wins shy of tying a modern school record. The Scots will face Victory University at 5 p.m. Wednesday to begin region play. By the time the first pitch has been thrown in that game, it will have been 15 days since Covenant last played.
One aspect that Covenant has thrived at this season has been producing at the plate. Collectively, the Scots are batting .301 with an on-base percentage of .377. The Scots have also swiped 109 bases this season which ranks them third in the NCCAA.
Leading the charge offensively has been the guys at the top of the order. Sophomore Will Cleland has spent time at the leadoff spot and the No. 2 slot and is hitting .345 with 17 stolen bases. Junior David Lockwood has his average up to .348 and leads the team with four triples. Sophomore Scott Gillespie has hit either third or fourth all year and leads the team in batting at .369 to go along with 34 RBIs and 15 extra-base hits.
One of the hottest hitters of late has been senior Sterling Witt. Over the last nine games, Witt is batting .423 with two home runs and 10 runs batted in. For the season, Witt checks in with a .319 average with three homers and 26 RBIs.
Strong Starting Pitching
Another key to the Scots' success this season has been their starting pitching. Weekend starters Micah Mabe and Garrett Kriston have combined for 11 victories and an ERA of 2.45 in 18 starts. Throw in Alhanon Miller, who started seven games, and the Scots' top three pitchers are 17-4 this season.
Mabe has put together an exceptional season. The lefty is 7-1 with a 2.32 ERA and has a WHIP of 0.83. Mabe has shown good control throughout the year as he struck out 61, which includes a 13 strikeout performance against LaGrange that set a new Covenant record, and walked only 12. Opposing batters are hitting a lowly .183 against him.
Kriston and Miller, both freshmen, have shown great promise in their first season. Kriston started eight games and went 4-2 with a 2.61 ERA in 51.2 innings of work. Kriston is coming off a 79-pitch nine inning complete-game at LaGrange where he surrendered one unearned run. Miller has started seven games and is 6-1 overall. The tall right-hander is allowing opponents to bat just .194 and has an ERA of 2.44 on the year.
Covenant has played well in the postseason the last three years, but the Scots have yet to make it through the region tournament. Last year, Covenant won its first two games, but ultimately placed third.
The two previous seasons, Covenant fell in the championship round with both losses coming to King College.
This season, Covenant has played two teams that will be in the tournament (Hiwassee and Tennessee Temple). The Scots are 5-1 against those teams this year.
Covenant is 13-1 all-time against Hiwassee, 8-5 vs. Tennessee Temple, and 0-2 against Trevecca Nazarene. The Scots have not faced Victory, Campbellsville, or Union (Tenn.) since the return of the program in 2007.
#1 - Campbellsville (Ky.) Tigers (32-19)
#2 - Trevecca Nazarene Trojans (28-20)
#3 - Union (Tenn.) Bulldogs (11-32)
#4 - Victory (Tenn.) Eagles (30-19)
#5 - Covenant Scots (25-13)
#6 - Tennessee Temple Crusaders (16-20)
#7 - Hiwassee Tigers (19-25)