The Mount Vernon Nazarene College baseball team addressed one of its biggest needs recently by signing two pitchers for the 2001 season.
With Andy Heimbach and Dave Byard both wrapping up stellar collegiate careers and moving on to the minor league baseball ranks, the Cougars had a void in the starting rotation to fill.
Justin Koloff of Olentangy High School and Mike Carlisle of Bloom Carroll High School have both decided to further their education and continue their baseball careers at MVNC.
"We are looking forward to having both Justin and Mike in our program," said Cougar head coach Keith Veale. "In a lot of ways, they are very similar. I feel that they both have outstanding potential. They possess nice size which is always attractive on the mound."
"I have been impressed with their desire to learn, and I feel that they have only begun to scratch the surface of their baseball abilities," Veale added. "I am excited to get them on the mound, and they should help fill a real need for us this next spring."
Koloff, a native of Delaware, Ohio, posted a 5-2 record with a 2.98 earned average as a senior. In 47 innings of work, he struck out 35 batters and walked 20. He also batted .450 with three doubles, three runs scored, and 10 runs batted in.
In addition to playing for Olentangy High School, Koloff has been a member of the Delaware Post 115 American Legion team. Last summer, he helped the squad to a sixth-place finish in the state, and this summer he has posted a 4-1 record so far.
"There are several reasons why I chose to attend MVNC," said Koloff about his college choice. "I really like the atmosphere there and how nice everyone is. I am looking forward to continuing to develop more there as a Christian who plays baseball."
Carlisle, a native of Canal Winchester, Ohio, posted a 3-4 record with a 3.22 earned run average as a senior. In 50 innings pitched, he struck out 62 batters and issued just 11 walks. He was a three-time selection to the All-Mid-State League Team, and he earned All-District honors in his final season.
Besides playing baseball at Bloom Carroll High School, Carlisle was a two-time All-MSL and All-District selection as a member of the basketball team. He also played for the Lancaster Post 11 American Legion team for four summers and helped lead them to a league championship in 2000.
"Several factors influenced my decision to attend MVNC," said Carlisle of his college selection. "The college has a good environment to learn more in academics and in baseball."
The Cougars posted a 29-20 overall record in 2000 as the program notched its seventh straight 20-win season. The team also advanced to the championship game of the NAIA Region IX Tournament. In addition, Byard was drafted by the New York Mets, while Heimbach signed a free agent contract with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.