HANOVER, Ind. – With less than two months before the first game, the Hanover baseball team has announced its 2018 spring schedule.
This year's schedule will have a bit of a different look to it as the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference has changed its format for 2018. Instead of playing each HCAC opponent three times, as in past seasons, the 10 schools will now play nine double-headers for a total of 18 league games. With that change, the Blue and Red will now play more non-conference games moving forward.
Of the 22 different teams on this year's schedule four won 30 or more games in 2017, and seven others posted winning records a year ago. The non-conference slate will feature 11 different teams from last year's schedule, including programs from seven different states.
Overall, Hanover is scheduled to play 17 times at home, 11 games on the road, and 11 contests at neutral sites fields.
As in past years, the Panthers will begin the season with their annual trip to Florida where they will play their first seven games at the Russ Matt Invitational. Games will be played at Lake Myrtle Park in Auburndale, Fla.
Opening day will be Sunday, Feb. 25 and include a split doubleheader against Capital (Ohio) and Augustana (Ill.), followed by a doubleheader against Milwaukee School of Engineering (Wisc.), a single game against Lyndon St. (Vt.), and a doubleheader against Mount Union (Ohio) to cap the week.
Hanover will then play Centre (Ky.) in its first true road contest the week after returning from Florida, and then head to Grand Park in Westfield, Ind. to play a pair of neutral site doubleheaders against Hope (Mich.) and Alma (Mich.).
The first home games of the year will be part of a three-game series Saturday and Sunday, March. 17-18 when the Panthers host Wabash. That weekend will be the first of three consecutive weekends to be played at K.T. Young Ballpark, with the final weekend also marking the opening weekend of HCAC play.
Five of the nine league opponents will make their way to Hanover this spring including Manchester, Rose-Hulman, Bluffton, Transylvania, and Mount St. Joseph, while the Panthers will travel to Franklin, Earlham, Anderson, and Defiance.
Another change from the HCAC this spring will be the number of teams qualifying for the league tournament at the end of the regular season. In past years four teams would advance to play for the tournament championship, but now five will qualify with the top seed set to get a bye to open the double-elimination weekend.
Once official practice begins at the end of January, Hanover will have four weeks of practice prior to heading south to open the season.
Contact: Mike Pritchard