Carma, Bachman headline Mavericks’ pitching staff
For a while last season, the Mesa State College baseball coaches played a game of mix and match.
It took longer than usual to find the right roles for a group of new pitchers.
Although the Mavericks (42-17 last season) won their fourth consecutive RMAC regular-season title, they fell short of making a fourth consecutive NCAA Division II regional tournament.
“Last year, we took a long time to figure out what we wanted to do,” Mesa State coach Chris Hanks said. “This year, we have a better understanding of where guys fit.
“We have some young kids that could be a starter, but may help us better in long relief. The guys that are more resilient and recover quickly will likely pitch in relief.”
The Mavericks, ranked No. 27 in the preseason, have 11 returning pitchers and five new pitchers on the roster this season. One of the returning pitchers, Jack Amidei, will redshirt because of shoulder problems.
“We have a good idea what we want to do,” Hanks said. “We have six or seven, possibly eight guys that can be in a starting role.”
Preseason All-RMAC pitcher Chris Carma will start the season opener Friday against Grand Canyon (Ariz.) University in Phoenix. Senior Kevin Chritz, junior transfer Scott Bachman and senior Andy Williams are slated to start in the four-game series.
“We’ve got to make sure we have great communication with them so they know where they stand,” Hanks said. “We’re contemplating redshirting a couple guys because of our depth.
We don’t want someone to burn their senior year for a few innings.”
The pitching staff will have plenty of experience and talent behind them.
The Mavs return not one, but two, All-American shortstops. They have preseason RMAC player of the year Mike Provencher and Matt Bodenchuk, who was an All-American two years ago.
Provencher, who turned his right ankle last weekend, can play several positions, but will mostly be in right field. Bodenchuk, who sat out last season with an elbow injury, will play shortstop and some first base.
Another preseason All-RMAC player, Andrew Martinez, returns and can play shortstop, third base and second base. Grant Vickers and Marty Rover are back behind the plate. Justin Little and Blake Carlquist return to anchor the outfield.
“We’ve got some talented kids and people that are good students,” Hanks said. “We have guys that have been around the block. The key is to keep our focus. We need to keep our nose to the grindstone.”
Here’s a look at the pitching staff:
Chris Carma, senior, 5-10, 150, left-hander: A competitor with great control of four pitches.
Led the team with 83 innings, 12 starts and three complete games.Scott Bachman, junior,
6-2, 180, left-hander: Drafted in the 44th round by the Colorado Rockies and a Division I transfer from Kansas State.
Kevin Chritz, senior, 6-5, 225, right-hander: Led the team in appearances last season (21) and had the best fall season, pitching coach Jeff Rodgers said.
Andy Williams, senior, 6-4, 190, right-hander: In the same mold as Chritz, but doesn’t throw as hard.
Jason Fronczak, senior, 6-2, 215, right-hander: Was the starter and winning pitcher in the game that clinched the RMAC regular-season title.
Brent LeMaster, senior, 6-0, 160, right-hander: Has a great fastball and refined his mechanics in the fall. Led the team with 4 saves last season.
Garrett Carpenter, freshman, 5-10, 160, left-hander: One of the best change-ups Rodgers has seen in 25 years of coaching. Could be a spot starter or closer.
Kyle Davis, freshman, 6-0, 170, right-hander: He has strength and could be a starter.
Jake Perkins, junior, 6-0, 180, right-hander: The Otero Junior College transfer from Olathe gives hitters a different look.
Chris Shea, junior, 6-0, 170, right-hander: The Feather River (Calif.) College transfer has a great arm, but not overpowering. Good slider.
Aaron Guinn, senior, 6-5, 220, right-hander: Developed a power sinker that Rodgers says can be unhittable.
T.J. Butch, senior, 6-1, 160, right-hander: Was 6-0 in 10 starts last season.
T.J. Stastny (sr., 5-11, 175, left-hander); C.J. Cannell (Rfr., 6-1, 185, right-hander); Ben Sawyer (so., 6-5, 185, right-hander); Josh Ogden (so., 6-2, 195, right-hander); Nate Towne (jr., 6-1, 165, right-hander).