New Hampshire Hardball

Eaton will serve as Keene State captain

KEENE  — The Keene State College baseball program has named graduate student first baseman/outfielder Brendan Eaton the team captain for their 2024 season, which begins Friday in Maryland.

Eaton, a Nottingham native, came to Keene from Coe-Brown Northwood Academy.  He will be a captain for a third consecutive season and has five home runs and 39 RBIs over his last 66 games since the start of 2022.  He also has 10 doubles and two triples in that span, and a career on-base percentage of .350.

“Brendan was a unanimous selection by the team to captain this group for a third time,” said Keene State head coach Justin Blood, now entering his third season with the program. “He’s a trusted leader and teammate.  Brendan shows up every day with great energy and effort and his teammates love and respect him.”

Entering a season in which they look to continue to take steps forward and into contention in the Little East Conference, the Owls also recognized their 2023 season award winners.

— Now sophomore Tommy Ahlers was named, by a vote of the team and coaches, the Most Valuable Player, hitting a team-best .301 with 11 doubles, a triple, two home runs, 21 RBI, an .842 OPS, and 10 steals.

“Tommy had a great freshman year and impacted our team offensively and defensively,” said Blood.  “He’s a dynamic player, physical, instinctual and confident.  We’re very excited to see how he continues to develop.”

— The Most Valuable Pitcher went to Jake Jachym, a freshman last season who fired two complete game shutouts including one against eventual league regular season champion Rhode Island College in a 2-0 win.

Blood called Jachym, a lefty from Westfield, Mass. “a classic left-handed mix and match guy with no fear.”

“(He) pitched really well for a freshman being thrown right into conference starts last spring.  We have great confidence that he’ll give us a chance to win every time he takes the ball.”

— The unsung hero selection was Brice Waldron (Harwinton, Conn.), who hit .357 (10-28) in 13 games (seven starts) and reached at a .400 clip.

“Brice had to fight through some real adversity last year,” said Blood.  “He did so with a great attitude and was able to finish the spring on a real positive note.  He’s come a long way in the past year and everyone in our program is a Brice Waldron fan.”

— Eli Oliver earned the Academic Award for his efforts in the classroom.

“Eli is a great human being first and foremost,” said Blood about the Vermont native and transfer Oliver. “He’s mature, respectful, hardworking and really excelled in the classroom.”

Keene State opens its 2024 season against McDaniel College (19-17-1, 7-10-1 Centennial) at the Ripken Experience in Aberdeen, Md. on Friday at 10 a.m.


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