Both the baseball and softball teams start their seasons without some of last year’s biggest stars. Fortunately, plenty of talent is waiting in the wings.
After losing aces Zak Hermans ’13 and Mike Ford ’14, both of whom are playing professional ball, the baseball team’s starting rotation is far from set in stone. One player the Tigers expect to rely upon, however, is Cam Mingo ’16. Coming from Minnesota with considerable natural talent, the 6-foot-4 right-hander matured quickly with help from Hermans and Ford.
Mingo adjusted to the college game and posted a 2.56 ERA in the Ivy League while working his way into the starting rotation as a freshman. During this year’s preseason, he was the only pitcher who had locked up a position as a starter. “I feel a lot more comfortable coming into the season knowing my role,” he said.
Mingo is not the only sophomore who is important to the team’s hopes to improve on last year’s 14–28 record (11–9 in the Ivies). Infielders Danny Hoy ’16 and Billy Arendt ’16 both earned starting positions last year, with Hoy hitting .307 and stealing 12 bases on 13 attempts.
Alec Keller ’14, an All-Ivy selection last year, knows that his team is young and has a lot to figure out. “We fully expect to have some growing pains this year,” said Keller, who hit .378 last season while playing several positions. But he added that the Tigers have “a lot of versatile guys” ready to play anywhere on the diamond.
The softball team also is looking to replace key players after losing pitchers Alex Peyton ’13 and Liza Kuhn ’13 to graduation. As with the baseball team, however, a sophomore already has proven herself capable. Shanna Christian ’16 became the third starter in an excellent rotation last season, posting a 3.00 ERA and the best won-lost record on the team.
Christian said the entire pitching staff, including rookies Claire Klausner ’17 and Erica Nori ’17, understands it will be called upon early and often. “They are aware of what’s upon them right now, but I think they’ve been stepping up,” Christian said.
Princeton softball is coming off a watershed season in which it reversed its recent decline and made a run at the Ivy League title. The Tigers finished 27–19 with a winning Ivy record last year after going 14-32 in 2012.