With February on the way, the men’s baseball team prepares for another long season. The Pilots have accrued several top performing athletes to their 2011 roster and are prepared to compete at the top of the MCC. Last season, the team experienced a roller coaster season filled with thrilling winning streaks and heartbreaking losses. Despite dropping their first 17 of 21 games to open the season, the Pilots battled hard and created much momentum as conference play began. At one point during the season Bethel could not do anything wrong as they were victorious 16 times throughout a stretch of 17 games. Nevertheless, the Pilots were unable to capitalize and surrendered their top conference standings as they dropped eight of their last 12 games. This year marks a new year for the Pilots as they hope to receive leadership from their skilled experienced players and use their impressive freshmen to add to their depth. During the offseason, Bethel was able to sign 11 players to add to the 2011 roster. These newcomers consist of five pitchers, two infield/outfielders, two first basemen, one catcher and one outfielder. Despite losing standout Reid Spitaels, who hit .449 last season, the Pilots return several veteran hitters. Curless Garrett returns as a senior this season who hit .447 and a whopping 14 homeruns. Bethel will also return Tony Bruns who hit .394 during the 2010 campaign and was second on the team with 20 doubles. Branden Robbins will also be a critical leader on this team as he hit .329 last year and accumulated 33 RBI’s. The Pilots appear to be very solid when it comes to pitching in the 2011 season as well. Bethel will return JJ DuBois, Eliot Rowe, and Jordan Hall. Rowe led the crew last year with 71.2 innings pitched while DuBois pitched 63.1 innings. Hall was also valuable to the Pilots as he appeared in 14 games. Bethel hopes that these along with other experienced pitchers can lead the way for the talented newcomer pitchers. The Bethel baseball team will open up play for the 2011 season in Florida on Feb. 26, where they will spend their spring break matching up against top ranked opponents. The first conference game will be on March 24, as the Pilots host Goshen College.