A T L A N T I C
Veterans Cover the Infield If you were directing a sight-seeing tour of the Hatters infield for 2012, you would probably tell your tourists that there is nothing new to see here, keep moving please. All four starters are back, three with All-Conference qualifications. In their Stetson careers, the quartet of third baseman Ben Carhart (61), shortstop Mark Jones (156), second baseman Robert Crews (169) and first baseman Ryan Lashley (108) have started almost 500 combined games for the Hatters. All but Carhart has started at multiple infield positions. There is no substitute for that level of experience on any team. The remarkable thing about the group is that only Jones and Carhart were recruited to play the position they now occupy, and Jones took a circuitous route to get there. He initially struggled with the position as a freshman, was moved to second base, then third, before returning to shortstop last year. Carhart, who was selected by the Dodgers in the 19th round out of junior college, was brought in to be both the third baseman and closer and hit in the middle of the lineup. He led Stetson with 63 RBI last year, one better than Rickles. If the ankle injury that hampered him last year, and his lost velocity returns as a result of that injury, he could be back in the closer role, at least on a part-time basis. Like Jones, Crews came in as a shortstop and bounced to third base before landing at second base. Now a graduate student, Crews passed up a job offer in his major field of finance to return for his final year of eligibility with the Hatters. Lashley, the only junior of the group, was a freshman All-American at shortstop two seasons ago, but moved to first base last year. If the Hatters were to run into an injury at any of the other infield positions, he would be the first in line to switch positions to fill the void. That group will occupy much of the middle of the batting order, with Jones, Crews and Carhart likely hit-
S U N ‘88 ‘89 ‘90 ‘00 ting in the 1-2-3 or 4 spots. Lashley, if he bounces back to his freshman level of production following a sophomore slump at the plate, would likely be right there in the 5 or 6 spot. “Carhart will be the three or four hole hitter and has an opportunity to be our top RBI guy again this year,” Dunn said. “Mark is very athletic and proved that last year. He could very well be our leadoff guy. He has good speed and great instincts on the bases. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him lead the team in steals this year. “From a coaching standpoint, it’s so nice knowing that Crews is out there because he will make all of the routine plays and then will make some really ridiculous plays. Lashley was a freshman All-American in 2010 because of the way he swung the shillelagh. We’re looking for him to regain the form he had as a freshman.” If an injury were to strike in the infield and Lashley moved to play another position, senior Trey Blackman would take over as the starter at first. The Altamonte Springs native started 48 games last year, splitting time between first base and designated hitter. He’ll be in a similar role this spring, and will look to improve on a .261 average from 2011. “Trey originally came to Stetson as a switch hitter but, after moving exclusively to the right side, improved his offensive numbers significantly.” Others who will serve as backups in the infield, and at DH, are freshmen Darby McCormick, Tanner Blackman and Kyle Pitts along with sophomores Kyle Campbell and Lindheim.
2012 Media Guide & Record Book
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