High Point, N.C.— The North Greenville baseball team will open up the 2013 season ranked fifth in Conference Carolinas in a poll released Wednesday. The Crusaders open the season in February when they welcome the Lander Bearcats to Tigerville on the first.
Perenial favorite Mount Olive College (Ranked 3rd in the country by the Collegiate Baseball Division II Top 40 Preseason Poll) grabbed the number one spot, followed by Belmont Abbey in second. King and Erskine round out the top four.
The Crusaders return six starters in the field including the 2012 conference freshmen of the year Allen Staton. The true sophomore second baseman was a spark for NGU last season, leaping head first into his freshman campaign. Staton, who saw time at 2nd base, 3rd base, and pitcher, was second on the team with .388 batting average, which also ranked him 4th among all hitters in the league. He was also 9th in the conference with 46 runs batted in. He was 2nd on the NGU team with 15 doubles and 3rd on the team with 4 homers. Staton was also named 1st-Team All Conference by the coaches.
Leading the rotation for NGU will be Ryan Woodring who returns to the mound for his junior season. Woodring was a 2nd-Team All Conference in 2012. The junior right hander’s seven wins ranked him 4th in the league in 2012 while his 79 strikeouts led the North Greenville pitching staff and second in the conference. Woodring finished the 2012 season with a 3.09 ERA.