CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Stetson's magical ride though the NCAA postseason may be over, but the Hatters certainly appear ready to shed the "Cinderella" label going forward.
Although there will certainly be some holes to fill, Stetson is set to return a majority of its roster next spring.
"The foundation is built," head coach Steve Trimper said following Saturday's Super Regional loss to North Carolina. "We have to continue to keep grinding."
Seven of the nine starters in Saturday's lineup will be back in 2019, with the only two exceptions being catcher Austin Hale and designated hitter Brooks Wilson.
Shortstop Jorge Arenas and outfielders Andrew MacNeil and Austin Bogart are all sophomores, while Jacob Koos — arguably Stetson's hottest hitter over the past two weeks — Jon Meola and Mike Spooner will all be heading into their senior seasons.
First baseman Eric Foggo and second baseman Kyle Ball, meanwhile, are just freshmen.
"Our returning guys are going to go away to summer ball and get a year older," Trimper said. "But just because the calendar page is flipped, they have to get a year better, and that's part of our jobs as coaches."
Spooner will be Stetson's leading returning hitter after leading the Hatters with a .309 average this season. In his first year at Stetson, Meola hit .272, and belted his first home run of the season on Saturday.
"I learned so much this year," Meola said. "This whole group just jelled. I'm looking forward to the new guys coming and getting back to this point again and hopefully win it."
While the lineup appears in good shape, the Hatters will have to replace ace Logan Gilbert, closer Brooks Wilson and reliever Ben Onyshko.
Gilbert, who went 11-2 this season and leads the nation in strikeouts, will almost assuredly be off to Seattle after getting drafted by the Mariners in the first round on Monday. Wilson, meanwhile, recorded 20 saves and led the team in hitting in his senior year.
Saturday's starter, Jack Perkins, is only a junior, but will have a decision to make after getting drafted in the 11th round by the Philadelphia Phillies. Midweek starter Joey Gonzalez is in the same boat after getting taken by the Houston Astros in the 28th round.
The Hatters do return rising junior Mitchell Senger, along with rising sophomore Austin Wood, both of whom figure to see more action in 2019.
"We're extremely excited about our recruiting class coming up," Trimper added. "We have a good JUCO arm, and a couple drafted kids that are probably going to show up on campus and add depth to our team. We have some guys that were reserves this year who are good players, and now they'll step in and fill some roles."
This article is written by Zach Dean from Daytona Beach News - Journal, The and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.