LYNCHBURG, Va. – The Lynchburg Hornets are making back-to-back trips to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since the early 1980s. They are a resilient bunch made up of a stellar senior class, seventeen to be exact, that led the conference in many categories -- headlined by ODAC Player of the Year in Avery Neaves.
“We’re really confident in our strike zone and just ability to produce runs without the big-time hit or big moment,” Neaves said. “Just grinding at-bats.”
Consistency has been key for the Hornets who have not lost back-to-back games all season and who toted the best runs and on-base percentage in the ODAC.
“What I’ve told the guys a lot over the course of the season is we’ve won which is huge,” said ODAC Coach of the Year, Lucas Jones. “We’ve won in every way you can--we haven’t played well and found ways to win. We have played well and found a way to win. So, that’s huge.”
Their pitching has been a thing of beauty with Altavista product Grayson Thurman becoming a top closer for the program and one of the best in all of division three.
“You get those highs and lows where you win some games and you take the loss being a closer,” Thurman said. “So I think being in that position my sophomore year helped me get comfortable in that position.”
Excited for the opportunity that lies ahead, Lynchburg feels like they have a point to prove after falling short of the ODAC Tournament title this past weekend.
“Especially after this weekend we didn’t play our best baseball so a lot of people are still doubting us to see if we’re actually as good as we are,” said Hornets infielder PJ Alvanos. “So I think we have a lot to prove and I think we’re going to show up and prove it this weekend.”
The Hornets will open play Friday against Salve Regina at Bank of the James Stadium at 2:30 p.m. The early matchup at Noon will feature Birmingham-Southern and Earlham.