Two Matoaca baseball alums received some of the highest individual honors this week for Randolph Macon.
Senior Travis Lodge was named the Conference’s Player of the Year while sophomore Rick Spiers earned All-ODAC first team honors. Spiers picked up the Most Outstanding Player in the ODAC tournament just days later.
More importantly for the two South Chesterfield natives, the Yellow Jackets downed Hampden-Sydney 6-5 in the ODAC Championship game this past Sunday afternoon.
“We put ourselves in a good position in the tournament and for after the tournament,” Spiers said. “We’ve been playing hard, we’re taking this one game at a time.”
The gives Randolph Macon a 32-6 record this season, and they’ve carried a national ranking all season long. In the most recent poll published, they were No. 2 in all of Division III baseball.
Spiers, an underclassmen, attributed the team’s success to it’s seniors.
“Last year our team had 11 or 12 juniors and about four seniors,” he said. “This year we returned those 11 or 12 seniors. Thirteen players on the roster represent schools in the Central Region.
Lodge, Spiers and Thomas Dale alum Tommy Barron went to high school perhaps in your back yard.
Lodge became a Yellow Jacket in part due to the local kids on the team.
“I knew 10 or 11 guys coming on the team that year,” Lodge explained. “We all got a good start playing together like that.”
Randolph Macon’s last ODAC championship was his freshman season.
On a team that packed an offensive punch, Lodge was often the “two” that put teams on the ground. His staggering stat line through April 30 included a .460 batting average. He slugged 12 home runs, 11 doubles, three triples and drove in 44 runs. He slugged .887 and walked more times (26) than he struck out (23). Lodge was awarded with ODAC Offensive Player of the Week award four times and was named to the d3baseball.com team of the week three times.
His success stemmed from an adjustment in his batting stance. Lodge simply dropped his hands lower in an effort to stay back more effectively on slower pitchers. Before he was lost to injury as a junior, he hit .410 through ten games, continuing his new stance into this season.
“You get rolling, get locked in,” Lodge said. “People start telling me what I’m doing and I don’t even realize it in the moment. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if I’m 2-4 or 4-4, I just wanted to win.”
For Spiers, there was no sophomore slump after a dazzling freshman season. He hit .391, knocking in 11 runs in 26 contests. More importantly, he served as the team’s number two starter, picking up five wins and pitching to a 3.86 earned run average. Also one of the team’s utility men, he struck out 55 batters over 63 innings pitched.
In the ODAC tournament, Spiers picked up a win in the semi-finals, and went 3-3 with three RBI in the championship game.
While the Tigers would lose in the title game, freshman and Thomas Dale alum Brian Goodwyn set the table for what could be a banner career at Hampden-Sydney.
The former Knight reeled in ODAC Rookie of the Year honors for the 2016 season.
Through April 26, Goodwyn had hit .379, notching 58 hits, ten doubles and totaling 74 bases. All four of those figures led the team. He also drove in 19 runs for the Tigers. Per the Hampden Sydney website, Goodwyn hit safely in 30 of 36 contests and racked up 21 multi-hit games. In an 8-1 victory over Moravian on February 27 in the Hampden Sydney classic, he went 5-5 and scored two runs.