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Cornell Baseball: A New Guard


Cornell baseball starts a new season. They do so in an interesting position. In the last two years, the Big Red has had some truly talented players. Two years ago, they had talent like Cole Rutherford and Peter Lannoo. Last year, they saw Ryan Krainz and Dale Wickham lead their lineup. But as is the case with all college sports, with a new season comes a new group to lead the lineup.

Cornell’s lineup will look vastly different this year. Of the 9 batters in their starting lineup in the last game of 2018, 6 will not return this year. They lose the power bat and RBIs of Dale Wickham, the constant hard work of Ryan Krainz who seemed to work every count to 3 and 2, and Kyle Gallagher who turned into one of Cornell’s best hitters last year. There are already some players who might fill those holes.

Will Simoneit became one of the central players to Cornell last year. He placed on the All-Ivy League second team for a second straight year, but in a new position. There were growing pains at 3rd base as Simoneit struggled with his fielding, but responded by hitting for an above .300 average and started every game. When Ivy League play came around, Simoneit’s average reached all-star levels, batting .369 against Cornell’s regular opponents. With a full year at his new position under his belt, Simoneit will be gunning for All-Ivy honors again this year.

In the field, Cornell will look to upper class-men like Kaleb Lepper to lead the way. After injuries slowed him down in his freshman year, Lepper rebounded to have an incredible year in the field. As Cornell’s starting center fielder, Lepper recorded 4 outfield assist, a hard thing for a centerfielder who often has the deepest throw. What’s more, he did all of this while maintaining a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage. As a junior, Lepper’s stellar play in the outfield will certainly be a model for his partners in left and right field.

Cornell did not emerge unscathed in the pitching department either. Star senior Tim Willites truly found his rhythm last year as he was the unquestioned ace of the team, facing tough opponents in every outing. Cornell also lost another starter in Tommy Morris, a reliable and dependable pitcher who ate up innings every time he took to the mound. Seth Urban will return as a starter and as the player who was second in starts, strikeouts and quality starts he will step comfortably into the role of the ace.

Cornell’s bullpen promises to be a really strength for them this year. Swingman Jeb Bemiss returns, a pitcher who can pitch a few batters or fill multiple innings. Cornell will also get their set-up man Colby Wyatt back, who was unhittable at times for Cornell last year, averaging more than a strikeout an inning. The key man in Cornell’s bullpen Coach Pep will really rely on is Andrew Ellison. He found himself in the closer role often for Cornell, and pitched to a remarkable 1.59 ERA in Ivy League Play.

There may be quite a few new faces on the mound, in the field, or striding up to the batters box for the Big Red this year. But any who count them out will find that, just as was the case last year, no one should walk into to Hoy Field and expect anything less than a team that expects to win every game, every day.

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