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Baseball Season Review (2014)

The 2014 Cougars baseball team finished their season in the NCCAA South Regional Tournament at Point University on Saturday, May 10th. The team finished 1-2 at the tournament, after being eliminated by rival Toccoa Falls College in the Semi-Final. Clearwater posted a 16-28 record, tying the most wins in a season (2011) since 2000, when the Cougars finished 32-16 under skipper Jack Hughes.

The maroon and black's most notable win came against Ave Maria University when they were ranked 25th in the NAIA National Poll on Saturday, February 15 in a 2-0 win. The most notable comeback of the year came on Tuesday, March 4th against Grace College. Trailing 12-10 in the last inning with two outs and no runners on base, Clearwater loaded the bases for senior David Edwards. Edwards then roped a line drive down the right field line, scoring all three base runners to walk-off with a 13-12 win and a midweek sweep in the doubleheader.

Another noteworthy achievement this year was the most regular season wins since 2004, collecting fifteen. The team won five series and swept two of those, with the sweeps coming against Grace College and Tennessee Temple University.

The Cougars pitching staff was anchored by junior Will Kirby and sophomore Stephen Martin, who were named as the team's Co-Pitchers of the Year. Kirby finished (5-6) throwing 82 1/3 innings, carrying a 3.72 ERA, logging a team-high sixty-five punch outs, and collecting four complete games as the Friday night starter. Martin (6-5) threw 79 1/3 innings with a team best 2.72 ERA, recorded sixty-four strikeouts, and led the team with nine complete games. He recorded a win in the Regional tournament and is now 3-1 in his career in the NCCAA Postseason with three complete games. Martin was named to the NCCAA South All-Region team and Kirby was named as an Honorable-Mention in the South Region.

Offensively, the Cougars were led by senior Joel Felten, who was named to the NCCAA South All-Region team along with being named as the team MVP. Felten hit a team-high .329 (46-140), scored twenty-four runs which was the second most, collected nineteen RBI's, and stole eighteen bases. He was also walked thirteen times and was hit by a pitch in ten plate appearances. Sophomore Emmanuel Chmielewski finished with a .293 (43-147) average and led the team with twenty-one RBI's and eight doubles. Chmielewski was honored with the team's Gold Glove Award for his defensive play in center field. Freshman Tim Reidy was second-highest on the team with a .300 (27-90) average with six doubles and fifteen RBI's.

On the bases, the team swiped ninety-nine bags with senior David Edwards and freshman Nathan Stanley leading the way with nineteen each, Felten recording eighteen, and senior Jefte Velez and Chmielewski with thirteen each.

Stanley received the Coach's Award, playing all three different outfield positions, shortstop, and pitcher throughout the year. He played in thirty-eight games and hit .269 (28-104). He tallied twenty-seven runs, a team-high, along with swiping a team-high nineteen bases. He went 1-0 with a 4.91 ERA on the mound.

The team graduated five seniors including Kyle Baitz, David Edwards, Joel Felten, Kyle Leja, and Jefte Velez.

Stay tuned to the website, Facebook Fan Page, and on Twitter @cCc_athletics for updates throughout the offseason as the Cougars prepare for the 2014-2015 season.

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