Top-ranked Miami Hamilton baseball ready for World Series

The Miami University Hamilton baseball team is primed for another deep postseason run.

And it all starts Monday.

An eight-game winning streak and a roster full of local talent gives the No. 1 ranked Harriers an advantage heading into the United States Collegiate Athletic Association Small College World Series, which takes place through Thursday in DuBois, Penn.

Miami Hamilton (38-11) reached the USCAA championship game a season ago and lost to The Apprentice School 14-9.

Longtime MUH coach Darrel Grissom said that defeat sits fresh in his players’ minds.

“Our goal from day one is to win our last game we play,” said Grissom, who is in his 23rd season at the Harrier helm. “We would be champions.”

Grissom said a stellar offseason and shoring up some of the team’s weaknesses from last season have the Harriers in a good spot.

Miami Hamilton is the top seed and will play the winner of No. 8 D’Youville and No. 9 Penn State DuBois at 5:30 p.m. on Monday.

“These guys like each other, and they play well together,” Grissom said. “That’s what we try to do as a coaching staff. We have to give them a chance to adapt to each other. To us, that’s key to a winning program. They have to get along with coaches and themselves. If they don’t do that, it’s awfully tough.”

The Harriers have some big-time leaders.

Shortstop and Colerain grad Stephen Stigler leads the nation — at every collegiate level — in triples with 19.

“That’s unheard of,” Grissom said of Stigler’s single-season school triples record. “He makes things happen.”

“For me, it’s all about being comfortable in the box and staying true to my approach,” added Stigler, the leadoff hitter. “Everything clicked when I came here. I figured out how to play my game with my own approach.”

Stigler also leads the USCAA in batting average (.451), hits (74), runs (78), stolen bases (40) and walks (35).

“Everyone has done their role this year,” Stigler said. “Everyone is coming in every day and wanting to be here — wanting to beat every team by as much as we can.”

First baseman Chris Hoffmann (Roger Bacon), who is third in the lineup, bats .429 and sits second in the USCAA with 72 hits. He’s got five home runs.

Left fielder Joe Requarth (Centerville) led the USCAA in RBIs at one point throughout the season before he sustained a shoulder injury, according to Grissom. But he’s back in the lineup now at the two spot.

“Those first three guys in our lineup can do some damage,” Grissom said.

Grissom said center fielder Daulton Miller (Centerville) has the power numbers to back up his cleanup-hitter status. He leads the Harriers with seven homers.

Third baseman Bradley Vargas (Lakota West), designated hitter Kaden Kimbrell (Badin), right fielder Thomas Boster (Kings), second baseman Danny Mangin (Alter) and catchers Caleb Schram (Fairfield) and Anthony Lawson (Colerain) are part of Miami Hamilton’s “stellar lineup,” according to Grissom.

“Our bench is ready to go in at any time to play,” the coach added.

MUH’s pitching staff owns a 3.19 team ERA and is led by Jack Feth (Colerain), William Stultz (Colerain) and Dylan Beal (Fairfield) — who have a 22-5 record, collectively.

“Our pitchers have really locked in,” Stigler said. “That’s been key to our hitting. When our pitchers don’t give up much, it makes us more comfortable as hitters and for us to go out there and play our game.”

“We are right where we need to be for the tournament,” Grissom added. “These guys want it. You can tell.”

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