(Photo at left: VU sophomores Brad Hartman (left) and Lance Myers (right) have signed national letters of intent to continue their collegiate careers at Ashland University. With the players is VU Coach Chris Barney.)
Vincennes University sophomore baseball players Lance Myers and Brad Hartman became fixtures as freshmen on the left side of the infield during VU’s 2014 NJCAA Div. II World Series run and learned to work well together in covering as much ground as possible.
Third baseman Myers and shortstop Hartman plan to be even more in sync defensively for the Trailblazers in 2015 and hope to then continue their collaboration at Ashland University in the fall of 2015.
The pair both signed national letters of intent recently to continue their collegiate baseball careers with the NCAA Div. II school in Ashland, OH. When the pair visited Ashland, Myers looked at Hartman late in the day and said, “If you want to sign here, I do too.”
At the plate last season, Myers hit .410 with a .556 slugging percentage in 60 games. He had 84 hits, scored 56 times and drove in 60 runs while roping 13 doubles and legging out seven triples.
Hartman turned in a .329 average in his freshman season. He had 11 doubles among his 55 hits and scored 48 runs.
Hartman had a .903 fielding percentage and Myers registered a .910 fielding percentage in 2014.
The Eagles program resonated with both Trailblazers.
“It was just the history and success, to begin with,” Hartman said, “but the coaching staff and atmosphere around the school made it something we were sold on.”
Ashland coach John Schaly is two wins from 1,000. More than 600 of those victories came at the helm at Ashland.
“There’s a lot we can learn from someone who has been that successful,” Myers said. “We didn’t want to pass up the chance to be a part of a program like that – especially, with what Ashland can offer in academics and pretty much anything a student needs.”
VU coach Chris Barney agreed that the duo of infielders made a wise choice in picking Ashland.
“We’re extremely proud that Lance and Brad are going Ashland to continue their baseball after this year. They were two important parts to last season’s success by anchoring third and shortstop,” Barney said. “Ashland is getting two student-athletes who have been very successful in junior college and will contribute right away. For Lance and Brad, Ashland has always been a top NCAA Divison II program and Coach Schaley is one of the most respected coaches in NCAA collegiate baseball. He has a great track record of developing players, both on and off the field.”
Hartman, a South Bend St. Joseph’s graduate, is a psychology major and Myers majors in sports management. Both plan to continue in those academic disciplines at the next level.
In addition, the dual signing means a chance to continue working together for another two years – a dynamic that came about through happenstance. While the athletic Hartman has had a wealth of experience playing in the middle of the infield, Myers’ freshman season at VU was his first at the “hot corner.” The Evansville Reitz product had been primarily a catcher in high school.
When Myers was tried at third as part of getting his and other players’ bats in the lineup at the same time, he became a more-than-serviceable third baseman who made most of the routine plays and occasionally turned in outstanding defensive plays. His development combined with Hartman’s prowess to form a defensively solid left side of a very talented Trailblazer infield defense overall in 2014.
Not surprisingly, the pair hopes to continue that continuity throughout their college careers.
“There’s a comfort level there after you play side-by-side as much as we did last season,” Hartman said. “You wind up knowing each other’s strengths and weaknesses."
Myers added, “We have a chance to maybe play together on that side for four years. That doesn’t happen often, but I think it works for us because we kind of fed off of each other’s energy last season.”