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Junior Seth Streich pitches against Buffalo at Bob Wren Stadium. Streich pitched a complete game and lead the Bobcats to a 4-1 win and a sweep of Buffalo April 22 (Jason Chow | Staff Photographer).

Summer break elusive for some Copperheads

As another season of college baseball has wrapped up, players are left with a responsibility to stay on top of their game during the offseason.

The Southern Ohio Copperheads, based in Athens, help players to stay competitive during the summer, as the team offers an opportunity to play a 40-game schedule. The team comprises college students from all over the country and competes in the Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League. This summer marks the team’s 11th year of competition.

Though they play their home games at Bob Wren Stadium, the Copperheads have only four players from Ohio University — Ben Otto, Dan Schmidt, Tyler Stage and Seth Streich.

Streich, the team’s only returning player, is entering his third season with the Copperheads and is coming off a season with the Bobcats where he batted .315 and drove in 10 runners in only 16 games. The right-hander also led the team in strikeouts with 62 in 75-1/3 innings.

With two seasons already under his belt, the two-time league all-star will seek to be a mentor for all the new players, as well as some of his current teammates from Ohio.

“If it was school ball and I was the only returner, I think there would be a difference and a leadership aspect to that, but it’s summer ball,” Streich said. “It’s a new season every year.”

The Copperheads are coming off a franchise-best season with a record of 29-13, which earned them a spot in the Great Lakes Championship Series. Despite losing to the Lima Locos in the championship, the Copperheads were able to clinch the South Division title in the GLSCL during head coach Chris Moore’s first season.

“Last year was special and fun to be a part of because a season like that doesn’t happen too often,” Moore said. “We had talented young men and things clicked. They bought into playing hard and being professionals.”

With 32 new players this season, the team’s front office had to rebuild the roster through networking and scouting players across the country. Aside from the four Bobcats, only three other players play at the collegiate level in Ohio.

Players come from places as far away as California, Florida, Colorado, Missouri and Wisconsin. But all differences are put aside for players once the season begins.

“We have a good coaching staff returning, which was a big part of our success last year.” Streich said. “With so many new guys coming in, it’s hard to tell, but it’s summer ball. There’s constant player movement, so we’ll see how we fare.”

The Copperheads will begin their season on the road on June 13 against the Hamilton Joes and will play 40 games in 47 days across Ohio and Kentucky.

With a brand-new season and a completely new roster, no one is sure what is in store for the team. For players it is to stay competitive and continue to get better. But, winning and losing aside, the main goal is to return to their school teams next year.

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