TIFFIN -- Though the ending left something to be desired, the magical 2019 Heidelberg University baseball season was one of the most remarkable runs Peaceful Valley has ever seen. An Ohio Athletic Conference title, a regional and super-regional crown and a trip to the World Series ... 35 memorable wins that captured the hearts of the Heidelberg community.
Along the way, several Student Princes compiled statistics that ranked at/near the top of the HU record book, as well as among the leaders in the nation this season. These superb statistics yielded a multitude of in-season and postseason accolades.
In total, 11 players were named All-OAC honorees. Kyle Jenkins, Marc Ochoa, Matt Psychas, Alex Sir Louis and Tyler Smith were first team selections. Kane Bateman was a second team honoree. Trevor Adkins, Parker Fronk, Mason Metz, Tristan Phillips and Joey Wenning were honorable mentions.
Regionally, Head Coach Chad Fitzgerald was named Coach of the Year by D3baseball.com. Matt Psychas was a consensus first team all-region selection. The American Baseball Coaches Association had Kane Bateman and Alex Sir Louis as second team honorees with Kyle Jenkins and Marc Ochoa on the third team. D3baseball.com listed Jenkins as a second teamer and Ochoa on the third team.
At the national level, Matt Psychas was a third-team selection by the ABCA and a fourth team honoree by D3baseball.com.
Trevor Adkins was named to the All-Tournament Team at the World Series because of his stellar start vs. Babson. Parker Fronk, Matt Psychas, Kane Bateman and Tristan Phillips landed on the All-OAC Tournament team. Adkins, Eric Devore and Joey Wenning all received OAC Player of the Week honors. Devore was also named the NBCWA National Hitter of the Week.
As a team, the 2019 squad finished with the fifth-most wins in school history. The team set records for at bats (1,839), put outs (1,330) and innings pitched (444.0). Additionally, they had top-five seasons in games (2nd, 50), runs (5th, 393), hits (2nd, 596), doubles (4th, 111), RBIs (4th, 344), total bases (3rd, 830), and assists (5th, 507).
The 2019 edition of the Student Princes led the nation in hits and finished second in double plays turned. HU was eighth in doubles and runs scored.
Individually, Kane Bateman tallied 86 hits -- second-most in the nation and two behind the leader. Kyle Jenkins (6th, 78) and Matt Psychas (10th, 75) were also among the leaders in hits. Trevor Adkins (15) was fourth and Alex Sir Louis (14) was seventh in games started. With 11 saves, Joey Wenning was sixth in Division III. Psychas was seventh in total bases with 129.
In the single-season Heidelberg record book, Kyle Jenkins (226) and Kane Bateman (219) are the new leaders in at-bats, surpassing Willie Brechun (217 in 2010). Matt Psychas (208), Parker Fronk (197) and Marc Ochoa (195) all cracked the top 10 in ABs. Bateman's 86 hits are tied for third-most, while Jenkins is tied for sixth with 78. Bateman and Psychas each tallied 57 runs, tied for fourth-most in school history. Psychas tied for third with six triples while Fronk (379) recorded the second-most putouts.
A stellar senior season put Joey Wenning in third place for saves in a season (11), and into second for saves in a career (17).
Robert Hunt's sensational diving catch in the fourth inning in the season-ending loss to Babson was featured as the No. 1 play on ESPN SportsCenter's top plays and has been viewed nearly 100,000 times on social media.
After a February loss to Anderson University, Heidelberg went 8-1 under the Florida sun -- capped by a statement 10-3 win over No. 5 Swarthmore College. Throughout the regular season, the Student Princes never lost more than one game in a row. HU salvaged four OAC doubleheaders -- a critical component to their 14-4 record in conference play. Fitzgerald's squad won its final seven league games in a row and shared the regular season crown with Baldwin Wallace.
Despite losing in the championship of the OAC Tournament, Heidelberg received an at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament. In the first year of the regional/super-regional format, the Tricolor was shipped to the Adrian regional. A win over No. 13 Denison sandwiched between wins over No. 9 Adrian sent The Berg into the super-regionals. Selected as the host, Heidelberg swept No. 20 Wooster, 8-5 and 14-1. The clincher was highlighted by a 10-run eighth inning.
On to the World Series, the Student Princes fell twice and took an early exit. The losses, though, could not diminish an incredible season.
The Student Princes have now won seven OAC regular season titles and have made two trips to the World Series.
Heidelberg finished the season at No. 9 in both the D3baseball Top 25 and the ABCA Top 30 polls. Heidelberg went 9-4 against ranked opponents during the year.