Cougar 2023 baseball season is off with bang


Wyatt Achelpohl, Staff Writer

We’re now into the spring semester, and that means baseball season is here, and a new beginning for a team that both looks and feels closer than last season. We should definitely see the team this year, make a huge impact on the conference. The Cougars  are a tight knit group of guys that are looking to go far in their first season in the ODAC.

Tim Schware, who is a freshman starting pitcher, is really excited about the season. Schware got to make his first start in college baseball on opening day. He feels like the team is really coming around well and that they can come out and be one of the top teams in a the ODAC this year.

“I thought it was a good start, winning game one, with that inning that we had, It is really exciting. It’s been since 2017 our first win on opening day, so it’s nice to get one,” Schware said. Schware added that he is optimistic about the chance to compete in a competitive conference.

The Cougars are led by Head Coach Kenny Fleming who first started out as a student assistant at Averett. He was named as the head coach in 2018 and has been building up the program since. Fleming  is looking ahead to this season with pride in the fact that he has a close and competitive team.

“We knew coming in that we had a pretty talented team with experience,” Fleming said. “Even though we’re still young, having one year under their belts was able to come in and understand the game, understand the process, made it a lot easier, we had a lot of talent coming in this year, that was a big deal to us.”

Fleming believes the team has a good mix of experienced players and freshmen.

“Ratio right now is 60:40 returners to freshmen. I think it’s a good, healthy mix where we’re not relying on six or seven freshman every game in the lineup. You can kind of plug them in and slowly develop them to put them in situations where they’re able to succeed instead of just throwing them into the fire and saying do the best that you can, and so it helps having some returners now.”

Starting center fielder Nolan McCabe is one of the team veterans having played for the Cougars for three seasons. Like other returners, he’s excited about the challenge of a new conference.

“Obviously being in the ODAC meaning that we get to play a bunch of new schools, new competition, you know kind of reinstate some old rivalries, really show the state of Virginia what we’re about,” McCabe said.

Seniors like McCabe are a huge part of what makes this team different and allows the upperclassmen this season to show some leadership with the younger players. From what was seen and heard, out at Owen-Fulton Field, the coaching staff have instilled a sense of going out and having fun playing the sport that you love, and being competitive about it.

Another returner is Jake Braun, a sophomore and a starting pitcher. He shares McCabe’s excitement and optimism.

“Playing new teams in a new conference is probably the coolest part of the season, building new rivalries with other teams,” Braun said. “(One opening day) we saw a lot of positives, more positives than negatives actually. It has motivated us for the rest of the season.”

The Cougars are looking to go far in the conference this season and are really excited to use the locker room chemistry to their advantage when they play every game this year. For a schedule of games, check out