Group of Cleveland Browns players protest, and refuse to stand during national anthem

Miami finding rhythm on diamond, leads MAC East

The Mid-American Conference baseball season is here, and Miami University is starting to find its collective groove.

The RedHawks are 12-11 overall and lead the MAC East Division with a 5-1 mark heading into tonight’s nonleague contest at Ohio State. MU has a three-game conference series at Akron this weekend.

“It’s good to get off to a decent start,” Miami coach Dan Simonds said. “But you’ve got to talk to me in seven weeks. That’s when it’s going to matter.”

The last six games have been in the MAC, against Eastern Michigan and Toledo, and followed blowout losses to Indiana on March 19-20.

The RedHawks have lifted their team batting average to .282 with six players hitting over .300 — Jake Romano (.381 in six games), Matt Honchel (.365), Ryan Elble (.318), John Crummy (.313), Kevin Bower (.310) and Chad Sedio (.302). Bower and Alex Johnson both have 18 RBIs.

“We just really started hitting three weeks ago,” Simonds said. “At the beginning of the season, our hitting was anemic. It was a little alarming. Now we’re starting to put together more competitive at-bats.”

Honchel has shown no signs of experiencing a sophomore slump. The left fielder is swinging a hot bat in the leadoff position.

“I was concentrating on driving the ball more early in the season, and I was driving it right at people,” said Honchel, a Harrodsburg, Ky., native with six doubles, a triple, 10 RBIs and nine stolen bases. “I’ve kept the same approach, except now they’re starting to fall. That’s how baseball is, a game of inches.

“We have the credentials to become a great team. Some of the most talented teams lose. We have the talent here. Now I think we’re showing the chemistry to come together and win.”

Simonds said MU’s three workhorses on the mound are throwing well. Brooks Fiala is 3-3 with a 3.31 ERA, Nathan Williams is 3-1 with a 3.44 ERA, and Mac Thoreson is 2-3 with a 6.61 ERA. Fiala has 49 strikeouts in 49 innings.

“I would like to see our team ERA under 4.00 (it’s 5.22), but we’ve had a couple really bad games, so I’m not going to put a whole lot of stock in that,” Simonds said. “That said, we’re going to need some guys to step up out of our bullpen.

“It’s been encouraging to see Ryan Powers (1-0, 3.31). I think he’s going to fill that role as a back-end guy, a potential closer.”

The RedHawks have been playing without three key players in recent days. Simonds is hoping to have second baseman Matt Packer (knee), outfielder Romano (knee) and designated hitter Adam Yacek (back) available for action in the next two weeks.

Defensively, Simonds said Miami hasn’t been bad, but needs to be better.

“It’s not so much a lot of errors,” he said. “I just think there’s some plays we’re leaving on the field.”

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Sports

HS Results 8/21: Centerville wins fifth straight tournament

Marissa Wenzler was the runner-up with a 70 and Kayla Ramsey added a 73, helping the Centerville girls golf team win its fifth straight tournament at the Lady Elk Invitational on Monday at Yankee Trace. Centerville finished with a 301, edging Dublin Coffman by nine strokes. Springboro was 8th with a 343 and Lakota West 10th at 350. Girls Golf Spg....
Sports teams poke fun at eclipse through social media
Sports teams poke fun at eclipse through social media

Several sports teams had some fun with Monday's solar eclipse, taking to social media to put their own spin on the celestial rarity. The Atlanta Hawks gleefully blocked out the Suns, who were only too happy to block them back. And there was a total eclipse of the Hart in Philadelphia. Let’s start in Atlanta, where the Hawks’ Twitter account...
Tennessee Titans players enjoy eclipse after practice
Tennessee Titans players enjoy eclipse after practice

Members of the NFL’s Tennessee Titans were treated to a post-practice eclipse party Monday, and players laid on the field with pairs of glasses to view the celestial wonder, ESPN reported. Nashville was in the path of the solar eclipse that raced through the United States on Monday, and Titans players viewed it as Bruce Springsteen songs...
Bengals weighing options at safety at Williams injury
Bengals weighing options at safety at Williams injury

The Cincinnati Bengals have yet to put a timetable on starting safety Shawn Williams’ expected return from the gruesome elbow injury he suffered Saturday night, but the absence is expected to be significant. The most optimistic projections have Williams missing four to six weeks, but that would mean the Bengals would have to use a valuable spot...
HS Football: With nearly 50 players, Jets’ numbers are taking off
HS Football: With nearly 50 players, Jets’ numbers are taking off

The numbers are trending up for the Northeastern Jets. And so is the optimism heading into coach Tim Houseman’s third season. In 2016, the Jets recorded their best high school football season in six years and came within one victory of the program’s first winning season since going 6-4 in 2010. The team fielded 33 players in 2016. That...
More Stories