By Victoria Conway
The Edenton Steamers announce their four returners for the 2019 campaign.
Tyler Jones of Chowan University, T.J Wegmann of Binghamton University, R.D Lutze from University of Illinois-Springfield and Holden Drake of Erskine College will be back in the Teal and Black this summer.
Head coach Russ Burroughs believes this core group of players will help make the transition easier for newcomers.
"The fact that we can bring four guys back that were with us last summer can really add some leadership because they know the ins and outs of the town, the team and the mindset that I bring as a coach," Burroughs said.
Wegmann, a 6'1'' 200-pound junior, will be behind the plate for the Steamers. Last season he recorded an impressive .981 fielding percentage as the team's backstop.
The Appalachian, NY native has a .417OBP through four games at Binghamton.
"TJ is the toughest guy I know, he was beaten up behind the plate every game and he was everything for our pitching staff. With another year under his belt…I think we are going to see a completely different side of him on the offensive side of the game," said Burroughs.
Jones, 5'11'' 200-pound junior, will see time at second base and shortstop this season. Over 89 at bats last year for the Steamers he batted .258.
The North Carolina local is batting .412 through Chowan's first seven games.
"He is a grinder, usually the first guy there and the last guy to leave. He was pretty much our heartbeat last year, when rallies would get started, he was right in the middle of it. Every game he would get better and better," said Burroughs.
Lutze, 6'3'' 235-pound junior, will be receiving opportunities to close out ball games this summer.
Stemming from Lisbon, Ill, last year for Edenton the righty recorded 37 strikeouts in just 22 innings. Early this season, the fireballer hasn't allowed a run in his first two outings.
"The first half of the season he was absolutely lights outs. No one was able to catch up to his fastball up in the zone. If we can keep him healthy, I don't see any reason why he can't be our closer again," Burroughs said.
Drake, a 5'11'' 185-pound senior, has held opponents to a .167 batting average in his first three appearances for Erskine.
Last season the Burlington, NC product recorded a 2.57 ERA over 12 appearances with Edenton.
"We really had no clue what he was about when we got him… but what really opened our eyes was a game against Peninsula, we brought him in with the bases loaded and no outs. The 3-4-5 hitters were due up and he escaped without allowing a run. The kid really showed what he was about right there. I know that I can put him in any situation, and it is not too big for him, that gives me all the confidence in the world to throw him in any situation."
With one year of experience under their belts, these four returners will serve as key components for the Steamers this summer. Their leadership will be a large asset to Coach Burroughs and his staff.
Opening Day at Historic Hicks Field is on May 30th, as the Steamers host the Morehead City Marlins. Season tickets and ticket packages are on sale now and can be purchased by stopping by the Steamers office, or calling us at (252) 482-4080.
The Edenton Steamers are entering their 22nd season as a member of the Coastal Plain League in 2019. Be sure to follow the Teal and Black on social media to stay up to date with all things Steamers.
You can find the team on Facebook @EdentonSteamers, Twitter @EdentonCPL, Instagram @edentonsteamers and Snapchat @edentonsteamers.
For more information visit edentonsteamers.com or call (252) 482-4080.