Delaware Valley University baseball preview 2019
John Love is new to the Philadelphia baseball scene and will make his debut as a head coach this season with Delaware Valley University. He's replacing Bob Altieri who stepped down last summer after leading the program for 19 years.

"I'm thrilled to have this opportunity and to take on the challenge of building a strong program," Love said. "This spot opened up, and I couldn't be happier."

Love, a native of Hershey, PA., has been in the college baseball circuit for the past eight years, spending time as an assistant at Hiram College in Ohio and Central College in Iowa. He also spent two seasons with Lebanon Valley College where he managed the pitching staff.

"Leading a team, this is what I've always wanted to do," Love said. "This is where I want to be."

The Aggies finished 11-23 last season in the Middle Atlantic Conference, winning just five of 20 league contests. The club enters 2019 without their workhorse from a year ago in starter Ben Lippincott who has since graduated. The Lansdale Catholic product started a team-high ten games for the Aggies last season while tossing 60 1/3 innings. He ended the year with a 3.28 ERA and received second All-MAC honorable mention.

The starting rotation remains a bit of a question with seniors Joe McGlade and Brendan Giampa expected to shoulder much of the work. Senior reliever Hunter Mease may also see an increased role within the pitching staff after making 12 relief appearances last season.

"Depth is going to be a bit of a concern for us," Love said. "It's good in a sense that everyone will see plenty of playing time, but it also means we'll have plenty of youth on the field at any time."

The offense figures to be paced by senior outfielder Luke Hendricks. The Ottsville native led the Aggies last year with 38 hits, 28 RBIs, eight doubles, and four home runs while hitting .322. Joining Hendricks as an offensive threat is sophomore outfielder Tom Crooks who hit .330 with 30 hits, three doubles, five triples, and 13 walks. He also pieced together nine multi-hit games.

"We know there's plenty of work that needs to go into things to get this team to where we want to be," Love said. "The enthusiasm is there and that's something we can build from. The guys are excited about the future and so am I."

The Aggies open the 2019 season with a contest at Immaculata on February 27. The home opener is set for March 2 as a doubleheader against Clarks Summit.

"There will be some growing pains, for sure, but we're putting down the foundation for something that could be pretty special," Love said.
Follow Patrick on Twitter: @PGordonPBR

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