On Friday, Ohio State baseball coach Greg Beals announced his team had voted for senior catcher/infielder Jalen Washington and redshirt junior starting pitcher Adam Niemeyer to serve as co-captains for the upcoming 2017 season.
This will be the second year Washington will lead as co-captain for the Buckeyes. He served in the role last year alongside third baseman Nick Sergakis.
The process of selecting the captains was done by voting amongst the players, leaving the coaches outside of the decision process. Despite this, Beals felt his team made the right decisions in selecting their captains.
“We have great leadership throughout our clubhouse, but these two have more than proven themselves as leaders on the field, in the locker room, classroom and on our campus,” Beals said in a press release. “I have absolute confidence in Jalen and Adam to captain the 2017 Buckeyes.”
Last season, leading the Buckeye pitching staff behind the dish, Washington was able to help drive the team to a 44-20-1 record in 2016, a Big Ten Tournament championship and a berth into the NCAA Louisville Regional. Washington started in 62 of OSU’s 65 regular season games and slashed .249/.352/.343 with three home runs and 14 steals in 19 attempts.
Washington held opposing base stealers to a .730 success rate with 14 passed balls. He also led the Big Ten in runners caught stealing, successfully throwing out 17 would-be base stealers.
For Washington, it was a “tremendous honor” to be recognized as one of the team’s captains for a second year.
“This means a great deal to me, to know that my teammates saw me fit to lead this team again,” Washington said in the press release. “I’m going to do my best to help push this team to play championship ball.”
In his second season in the Ohio State rotation, Niemeyer amassed 71.0 innings across 14 starts while spending time as both the Saturday and Sunday night starter, though he missed several starts towards the end of the season with a lingering hamstring injury. The right-handed finished the season with a 4.31 ERA, 70 strikeouts, only 12 walks (fewest of any starter in the rotation) and a .270 opponent’s batting average.
Now faced with stepping up in the rotation following the graduation of John Havird and Cleveland Indians draft pick, former ace Tanner Tully, Niemeyer will be counted on to step up in the role as the Friday-night starter.
“I am honored to be named a captain,” Niemeyer said. “It makes it even more special that it was voted on by my teammates. We have numerous leaders on our team and I cannot wait to get the season started.”
The 2017 season starts on Feb. 17 for OSU in Osceola, Florida, when the Buckeyes take on the Kansas State Wildcats.