Last season's mad dash to the Horizon League title continues to pay dividends for the Valparaiso Crusaders.
College Sports Madness announced its 2013 Horizon League Baseball Preseason All-Conference Teams yesterday and nearly every returning starter was recognized.
Sophomore shortstop Spencer Mahoney (La Grange Park, Ill./Lyons Township HS) was named Field Player of the Year joining Elliott Martin (Irvine, Calif./University HS [Saddleback CC]) and Tanner Vavra (Menomonie, Wis./Menomonie HS [Madison CC]) on the infield. The trio combined for 93 runs batted in and 108 runs scored in 2012. The accolades bode well for the 2013 Crusaders considering the lone infielder left out of voting - John Loeffler (Burnsville, Minn./Burnsville HS [Des Moines Area CC]) - smacked a team-high 18 doubles while recording a .400 on-base percentage.
Outfielder Chris Manning (Irvine, Calif./El Toro HS) was also named to the All-Horizon League First Team along with utility man Andrew Bain (Evansville, Ind./Park Tudor HS).
Starting pitcher Kyle Wormington (Norman, Okla./North HS [Connors State CC]) represents the lone carryover of a rotation that last season compiled 335 innings. His 6-6 record and 3.33 earned run average garnered him an All-Horizon League First Team nomination as well.
The Crusaders open their season Saturday, February 15th in Nashville versus the Belmont Bruins. First pitch is set for 4:00 pm.