BETHLEHEM, Pa. – The Lehigh baseball team is predicted to finish sixth after the votes of Patriot League head coaches and sports information directors were tallied this past week. The Mountain Hawks received 14 points, just one behind rival Lafayette, while junior Joe Abeln was voted as the preseason All-League catcher.
Lehigh is coming off a 6-14 finish in the Patriot League a season ago, but features nine new freshmen along with a mix of young talent on the 2013 squad. The Mountain Hawks will hope that the seasoned youth will be able to improve the 2013 team and reach the Patriot League Tournament for the first time since 2010.
Junior catcher Joe Abeln was selected to the preseason All-League team after transitioning from the outfield to behind the plate this season. Last year, Abeln hit .289 with two homers, 25 RBI and slugged .408 as a mainstay in the Lehigh line-up, making 47 appearances and 42 starts. It is Abeln’s first nod to the squad as he is a career .271 hitter with four home runs, 36 RBI and a .414 slugging percentage as a Mountain Hawk. He also showcased his speed on the base paths as a sophomore, swiping a career-high seven bases in 2012.
Here’s the complete breakdown of the voting:
1. Holy Cross (45 points, six first place votes)
2. Army (45, five)
3. Navy (32)
4. Bucknell (29, one)
5. Lafayette (15)
6. Lehigh (14)
Preseason Player of the Year: Mike Ahmed, Holy Cross (Jr., 3B)
Preseason Pitcher of the Year: Chris Rowley, Army (Sr., SP)
Preseason All-Patriot League team:
SP: Chris Rowley (Army, Sr.)
SP: Ben Nelson (Navy, Sr.)
RP: John Colella (Holy Cross, Sr.)
C: Joe Abeln (Lehigh, Jr.)
1B: Jordan Enos (Holy Cross, Sr.)
2B: Kevin Casey (Lafayette, Sr.)
3B: Mike Ahmed (Holy Cross, Jr.)
OF: Brandon Cipolla (Holy Cross, Jr.)
OF: Greg Dupell (Navy, Sr.)
OF: Patrick Puentes (Holy Cross, Sr.)
DH: Mark McCants (Army, So.)