Alma, Mich. - The 2016 baseball season for Alma College was a historic one as the Scots posted their first winning season since 1981 while compiling a school-record 28 wins, topping the 20-win mark for only the third time in the program's history.
The Scots finished in second place in the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association with an 18-10 record, establishing a school record for conference wins while posting their highest finish since 1999, which was the last team to win the regular-season title. As a bonus, Alma qualified for the four-team MIAA Tournament for the first time since the postseason format was established and hosted a first-round game with Hope College. The Scots placed third in the tournament, but not before eliminating defending MIAA champion Adrian College to record the first win over the Bulldogs since the 2008 season.
Senior Doug Walters (Brighton, Mich./Brighton) was named to the All-MIAA First Team as a catcher, while junior pitcher Alex Valasek (Saginaw, Mich./Nouvel Catholic Central) was one of three hurlers selected to the First Team. Senior David Carles (Staten Island, N.Y./Petrides/College of Staten Island) was picked as the second baseman of the All-MIAA Second Team despite missing the last four league series due to injury.
The success of the season was an improvement from the 20-20 mark in 2015, but even more impressive due to the fact that the Scots changed head coaches in early winter. Scot Kingston, after three seasons guiding Alma, departed in November for Monroe College in New York, and Jake Sabol was named as his replacement in mid-December, officially taking over in January. With two months before their first game, the Scots went to work, which showed immediately in March, as Alma went 5-2 at the RussMatt Central Florida Invitational and compiled a 9-2 non-conference record in its first 11 games.
The Scots opened MIAA play taking three of four games against Hope College and then sweeping Albion College, putting the team in contention for a postseason berth. Alma suffered setbacks in seven of its next eight games, winning once in a series with Trine University before being swept by Adrian, give the Scots a 8-8 record with three series remaining. Determined to make the MIAA Tournament, Alma responded with a 10-2 record in its final 12 league games, sweeping both Calvin College and Olivet College and splitting with Kalamazoo College to vault into second place.
In the MIAA Tournament, the Scots suffered a 5-4 loss to Hope in the first game of the MIAA Tournament at Klenk Park, but rebounded and stayed alive with a 9-5 win over the host Bulldogs. Later that evening, in a game delayed three hours due to weather, Alma was eliminated by a 12-2 margin by the Flying Dutchmen.
Walters joined the .350 club with a .353 average during the season, and tied the school-record for single-season RBIs with 37, while Carles (.343), sophomore Austin Roeske (.329), junior Greg Goffee (.324), senior Dayne San Miguel (.322) sophomore Matthew Minaudo (.310) and senior Yoan De La Rosa (.300) all hit .300 or better. Carles, despite the shortened season, hit a team-high 13 doubles, the second best single season total in program history. Goffee, after a year away from the program, tallied a team-high 25 stolen bases to rank second in school history.
On the mound, Valasek was the first pitcher to throw a no-hitter since 2001 when he retired 17 consecutive batters and struck out six in a 10-0 win over Olivet College on May 6. Valasek also added a one-hit effort on April 30 as the Scots defeated Kalamazoo, 2-0, to become the first player since 2002 to limit a team to just one hit. Valasek threw 75.2 innings during the 2016 season, which ranks second on the school's single-season chart. Senior Blake Ordiway (Holly, Mich./Holly) came out of the bullpen in relief in 19 contests, tying the school record for most appearances in a season. Senior Phil Jock (Memphis, Mich./Memphis) ended his career with 19 victories, third all-time at Alma, and set the program's career strikeout record, fanning 192 batters. Jock threw 199.2 innings during his career and ranks fourth all-time for innings pitched.
The Scots set team records for doubles (80), at-bats (1,302), runs scored (254), and innings pitched (334.0), and broke the 1983 squad's mark for RBIs in a season (180) with 222.
Nine seniors depart the program, including: Carles, San Miguel, Walters, De La Rosa, Ordiway, Colin Nash (Brighton, Mich./Brighton), Jock, Dillon Rankin (Manistee, Mich./Manistee) and Matt Launstein (Flushing, Mich./Flushing).