History and Tradition
1999-2000: The club team was turned over to its inaugural President, Mark Przybysz (2000) (Pronounced “Shibish”). Mark was responsible for laying the tracks for the future development of the team as well as making all the coaching decisions during the fall season. If not for his hard work, and the work of the future leaders of the organization, the team would not be what it is today. During its first year the team was totally on its own to schedule games, gain University funding, and support the growth of the organization. At this time, the NCBA was not yet formed and there was no formal season or World Series. Teams played included Ohio State, Dayton, and Cincinnati State.
2000-2001: This marks the first year of the NCBA. The creation of the NCBA would eventually lead to the huge nationwide push to grow club baseball across the country. Rob O’Brien took over as president of the club team in January 2001 and began his year and a half tenure by helping MUCB to become known campus wide as an organization that was here to stay. Having almost 100 participants attend the tryouts, coupled with extensive campus advertising and fundraising for MUCB events, recognition of the club grew, creating an excellent foundation. The team was coached by student/players Tony Shaffner, Ben Chua, and Rob O’Brien. The highlight of the season included a trip to Big Rapids, Michigan where Miami took three straight games from Ferris State.
2001-2002: The start of the 2001 – 2002 season marked a major change for MUCB. Many of the players were not satisfied with the previous year's performance on the field, and in a 13 – 12 vote the team decided to have a full-time coach. Bill Consiglio, a graduate student and coaching major, took the reigns as the first non-player coach for MUCB. At the time Bill was in the last year of graduate school and was a student coach for the Varsity Team. Bill heard about the progress and growth of the club team from Varsity Baseball Coach, Tracy Smith and decided it was something he wanted to be a part of. With a dedicated full-time coach, the intensity and competitiveness of the team took a huge leap forward. With practices 3-4 days a week and a schedule that consisted of over 20 games, the commitment and time spent on the baseball diamond dramatically increased. While many players were not ready for this commitment, the team finished with an 11-2 record over NCBA play, marking the beginning of dominance for the program. The two losses came to rival Ohio State University on the final weekend of the season. The year was highlighted by an unforgettable trip to Ohio University that will forever live in the folklore of Miami Club Baseball.
2002-2003: Club baseball veteran Tony Shaffner took over as the coach for the team and began his three year tenure as head coach of the Redhawks.
2003-2004: Miami claimed its first Great Lakes Conference Championship and berth in the regional playoffs following a 13-0 regular season. Facing Central Michigan in a best of three series for a spot in the World Series, Miami suffered its first loss of the season before leveling the series at a game apiece in the second game of the double-header. Sunday's rubber match went to Central Michigan, though, denying the Redhawks our first trip to the World Series. Junior catcher Zac Shaw led the attack for Miami, being named both an All-American and conference player of the year while leading the nation in doubles.
2004-2005: Winning the inaugural Great Lakes Conference Fall Tournament Championship got the Redhawks off to an encouraging start of the season with wins over Bowling Green (2), Michigan State, and Dayton. The spring season did not get off to a good start, though, with opening losses to Ohio University. After rallying to go undefeated through the middle portion of the schedule, Miami traveled to Ohio State on the final weekend of the season needing to win two of three games to earn a berth in the regional playoffs. Splitting the twilight double header to open the series behind a masterful Mike Geddes pitching performance meant a win on Sunday would clinch a spot in the playoffs; but it was not to be. The Redhawks lost when a late inning rally came up just short, a disappointing end to a promising season and Tony Shaffner's three year reign as coach that saw Miami develop into a perennial power. For the second straight season Miami was honored with the conference player of the year in All-American sophomore second baseman Zach Martin.
2005-2006: Following the 2004-2005 season and the moving on of Coach Shaffner, players decided to have captains lead the team in the fall rather than attempting to find another coach. The ‘Hawks played more fall games than ever before and got off to a sizzling start by going 15-0. The fall season also included tournament appearances in Toledo, OH and College Park, MD. Looking to build on this momentum, the Redhawks participated in the NCBA Spring Break Showcase in Tampa, FL- our first ever spring break trip- going 5-0 and returning to Oxford with a #10 National Ranking. Miami finished second in the Great Lakes Conference East with a 20-4 record. In the 2005/2006 season Miami finished 35-4 and a #21 National Ranking.
2006-2007: Coming off one of the most successful seasons in Miami Club Baseball history the Redhawks went 6-3 in the fall season and 3-1 in the Great Lakes Fall Tournament. Miami Club Baseball also sponsored their first ever Intramural Baseball Tournament with 86 students participating. The team also had its first ever "Coats for Christmas", collecting over 100 hats, gloves, coats, and blankets which were donated to the Cincinnati Salvation Army. In the Spring Miami traveled to Vanderbilt and Myrtle Beach to compete in the Presidents Day Tournament against NC State, Virginia Tech, and eventual NCBA National Champion North Carolina. The Hawks finished with a 12-8 record in the Spring and an overall record of 18-11, finishing one game away from the Great Lakes Regional Playoffs and in 3rd place in the GLC East.
2007-2008: The most recent year of Miami Club Baseball featured one of the youngest and most talented teams in its history. Expectations were extremely high coming into the fall season as the Hawks featured seven returning starters, a starting rotation featuring senior aces Steve Anderson and Jim Daffin, and a rookie class consisting of twelve talented newcomers. The fall season was shortened to ten games due to inclement weather and consisted of a four game series against national powerhouse Indiana University and the GLC Fall Tournament.
The spring brought even higher hopes that this could be the year Miami would re-claim the top spot in the GLC East. Right off the bat, the road did not get easier for the Hawks as the league improved by dropping Kentucky, Xavier, and Wright State and adding Cincinnati and defending GLC North champion Bowling Green. Miami began its season in Tampa, Florida for the NCBA Spring Break Showcase as it did in 2006 and went 3-2. Highlights from the trip included solid starts from Freshmen Chris Geutschenritter and Nick Nolan, as well as a dramatic eleven inning walk-off win that featured a gutsy pitching performance from Senior Jim Daffin.
With the spring training warm-up under their belts, the Hawks looked to tackle the gauntlet of the GLC East starting with Ohio State. The season began with a bang as the Hawks logged two more walk off wins, featuring a game winning double by junior SS Sam Martinez in Game 1 and a walk-off three run homer by junior DH Andrew Meissner in Game 2. The Buckeyes would forfeit the third game to the Hawks due to the rain-shortened weekend, and there was no doubt that the magic was there for a big year for Miami.
After rain washed out two weekends in a row, Miami made a trip up to Dayton for a mid-week double header. The long lay-off quieted the Redhawk bats in Game 1 but not the arm of Senior ace P Steve Anderson who went the distance and gave up only one unearned run while striking out 15 Flyers. Game 2 saw the winning streak come to an end, but a split with Dayton kept the Hawks in first place in the division.
The Hawks returned home ready to face rival Ohio U. a few days later in a pivotal 3 game series. Game 1 went Miami’s way as sophomore OF Nate Planavsky continued his hot hitting with a key 2 run double to put the Hawks ahead for good in the 6th. Game 2 showed Miami’s lack of pitching depth as the Bobcat batters had their way, but Miami was still in first place and was geared up for the rubber match on the varsity field the following day. Unfortunately, due to circumstances, Miami was forced to forfeit to the Bobcats due to a lack of umpires. This put OU and Miami in a tie for first and the pressure was on to finish strong.
The next series against conference new-comer Cincinnati felt like a must-sweep for the Hawks as the entire conference was separated by only two games. Miami won the Saturday doubleheader easily against the Cats, but came out flat and lost Sunday’s single game. The loss put the Hawks further back of first place Bowling Green, who went on a hot streak and had separated from the pack in the previous weeks. However, Miami’s season was far from over as it still had control of it’s own destiny.
With three potential games left versus BG, the Hawks needed to come up big to lay claim to the league title. Unfortunately, with finals week looming and academics becoming a priority, a weakened Redhawk roster was forced to make the 3 hour trip to play the Falcons on a Thursday night at the Toledo Mudhens old stadium. Needing two wins on this night to have a chance at the post season, the Hawks came up short but fought hard to the end. Senior captain P Jim Daffin gave another solid pitching performance in Game 1 and Senior captain 1B/3B Travis Lydon did his best to carry the offense with four extra base hits and 5 RBI, but it wasn’t enough. The Redhawks finished the Spring season 9-7 (not counting forfeits) and fell short of their goals once again. Bowling Green went on to capture the league title and Colorado State eventually won the NCBA World Series.
2008-2009: The 2009 season was one of the most successful years in Miami Club Baseball's 10 year history. The Hawks won the ever competitive GLC East Conference and finished with a 12-2 record in league play which sent them on to the Regional playoffs for only the second time in team history with a #24 ranking nationally and an abundance of confidence. However Miami was plagued by injuries and bad luck throughout the tournament. Starting Center Fielder Nate Planavsky was unable to play after sustaining an injury to his quad against Ohio State just two weeks earlier and it was clear that the pitchers arm's were starting to wear down as well. Brodie Liebrandt and Luke Weymer however, showed up as they had all season pitching a quality game each. It also happened to be graduation weekend for the team and were forced to be without their DH Andrew Meissner who hit over .400 for the club for the second year in a row. The Hawks needed to win three games on the final day of the tournament to make it to the World Series, but would end up losing to The University of Illinois in the first game, ending a great season.
2008-2009 was also a year for rookies to step up and play. Miami was only returning 4 starters in the field and none on the mound. The team was in need of help and found it in the form of ex varsity players. 3B John Ticco, SS Drew Horman, C Mike Rooney, and P Brodie Liebrandt came up big along with other additions to the team from the fall.