Baseball No. 1 in GPAC Poll; Softball Third
The Tiger Baseball team has been chosen by the conference coaches as the favorites to win the Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) in 2013. If the Tigers can claim the regular season title, they would be the first to win the GPAC title in three consecutive years.
The Tigers, 36-21 overall and 16-4 in the GPAC, received seven of the 11 first-place votes in the poll. The team advanced to the NAIA National Opening Round and came one game away from qualifying for the NAIA World Series.
Returning for the Tigers are six position starters and eight pitchers from the varsity squad. Doane led the GPAC in pitching last season with a 3.64 earned run average while holding opponents to a .243 batting average. Pitchers Nathan Roth and Tim Carlson earned First Team All-GPAC honors last year. Pitcher Elliott Engle, third baseman Ethan Schroeder and outfield Thomas Albert received Second Team All-GPAC honors. Earning honorable mention were designated hitter Andres Rivera and relief pitcher Brandon Stennis.
The Tigers posted a 1-3 mark on the season's first weekend, and face a three-game series with Oklahoma Wesleyan on Feb. 15-16.
The Tiger Softball team was picked third in the GPAC pre-season softball poll. The team, looking to build off their best finish in conference play, received 76 points and one first place vote a year after finishing as runner-up in 2012.
The Tigers return a strong core of players from last year after leading the conference in hitting with a .312 team average and in runs batted in. Shelby Mendlik led the GPAC in runs batted in last year with a school record 57. She was joined on the All-GPAC First Team list by designated player Samantha Arlt. Brooke Sampson, Doane's leader in career home runs, earned Second Team honors as did fellow outfielder, Nichole Diaz. Diaz set the school record for outfield assists last year with 16 while batting .401. Kylie Garrett received Second Team honors out of the pitcher's circle, posting 11 wins, 2.95 earned run average and three shutouts.
The Tigers will open the season on February 15 in Texas as head coach Renae Littrell makes her debut as Doane's softball coach. Littrell makes the return to Texas where she was coaching high school softball before taking over at Doane in late August.