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Roberts Taken by Oakland in 26th Round of 2011 MLB Draft
Former Keydet shortstop Sam Roberts (Prince George, Va.) has been drafted by the Oakland Athletics in the 26th round of the Major League Baseball draft, which took place Tuesday via conference call.
Over the past seven seasons, the VMI baseball program has enjoyed unprecedented success. Winning games against top-10 teams, receiving national rankings and being regarded as one of the top programs in the state and in the region are now attributes of a program built under head coach Marlin Ikenberry.
Ikenberry recently concluded his seventh season, 2010, at the helm of the program as the winningest coach in the history of VMI Baseball. In recent years, the Keydets posted three consecutive winning seasons for the first time in 52 years, defeated a ranked team for four straight years, and in 2010, earned VMI's first win over a top-ranked team in Institute history, beating #1 Virginia at Gray-Minor Stadium. This year's team set new school records for batting average (.325), slugging percentage (.529), hits (629), runs (414), doubles (133), home runs (78), RBIs (390), at bats (1933) and total bases (1022).
On the mound, the staff's 441 strikeouts were tied for the most in school history, while the team's 8.26 strikeouts per nine innings rate is the third-best. In addition, the 11 saves the team posted is tied for fourth on the list and the 3.46 walks per nine innings rate comes in seventh. Finally, the team's ERA (5.43) ranks ninth in the Alumnium Bat Era.
Marlin Ikenberry was named head coach on July 22, 2003, being promoted to the top spot in the program after former head coach Tom Slater departed VMI in the summer of 2003 to accept a coaching position at the University of Florida.
As Slater's top assistant and recruiting coordinator for three years, Ikenberry played a key role in the resurgence of the VMI baseball program that set a school record for victories in 2003 at 24-28. That same year, the Keydets posted a 16-14 mark in the Southern Conference, securing their first winning conference mark since 1969.
Since taking over the program, Ikenberry has continued that success, breaking the school record for wins three times over the past five seasons. After winning 23 games in his first year and 27 contests in his second season, historic ground was broken in 2006, when the Keydets won 30 games for the first time in program history, while also marking the first time in 41 years that the program posted a winning record. That success continued in 2007, as Ikenberry guided his squad to a 34-21 record, knocking off a pair teams ranked in the top 10 nationally for the first time in program history. As a result, VMI Baseball earned its first-ever national ranking, being tabbed 30th in the country by Collegiate Baseball in back-to-back weeks while also receiving votes in the Writers' Poll.
Hailed as one of the state's top recruiters, Ikenberry has signed several players that have enjoyed great success in Lexington. He is responsible for the signing of two Louisville Slugger Freshman All-Americans, a Southern Conference Freshman of the Year, five Big South First-Team All-Conference selections and a 2003 All-SoCon Tournament player.
Ikenberry, 37, served as VMI's recruiting coordinator and pitching and catching coach in 2003 and was vital in the staff's remarkable improvement that season. Working closely with the Keydet pitchers and catchers, Ikenberry helped guide the pitching staff to an improvement of nearly two runs in team earned run average from the previous season.
"We're very excited to have Marlin Ikenberry as our head baseball coach," VMI athletic director and former Keydets head baseball coach Donny White said upon Ikenberry's hiring. "He has all the ingredients to be a great head coach. His recruiting work has made a difference in the program and has certainly been instrumental to our success. He has the leadership and abilities to build on the program's recent performance and reach the goal of a conference championship."
A 1995 graduate of VMI, Ikenberry played for the Keydets and was recruited by VMI Hall of Famer Chris Finwood, now head coach at Western Kentucky. Ikenberry returned to his alma mater in the summer of 2000 after spending three years at the College of William and Mary as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator. While in Williamsburg, Ikenberry earned a reputation as one of the state's top recruiters and landed two high school All-Americans and freshman All-Americans.
In 2000, the Tribe of William and Mary finished with a school record 32 wins and placed third in the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament. The team also set a school record for best fielding percentage at .967. The next season, William and Mary won the CAA Championship and earned a berth in the NCAA Regional Tournament. During his time in Williamsburg, Ikenberry coached future Major Leaguer Brendan Harris and recruited future Major Leaguer Chris Ray and current professional player Chris Shaver.
During his coaching career, Ikenberry has helped guide 27 players onto professional careers in baseball. In recent years, Ikenberry was instrumental in the development of pitchers Trey Barham, Michael Bowman, Travis Smink, Corey Bachman, Duke Acors, Jeremy Harper, Phil Hendrix and J.J. Hollenbeck as well as catchers Andy Barden and Mike Roberts and infielders Matt Smith, Chad Rice and Kelly Sweppenhiser.
As a cadet, Ikenberry was a four-year starting catcher for the Keydets. While playing, he developed a reputation for his excellent defensive skills and his handling of the pitching staff. He also caught for former VMI and major league pitcher Ryan Glynn.
He played on VMI's 1993 squad that advanced to the Southern Conference Championship game and ranked third in the nation in defense. In 1994, he helped the Keydets in setting a then school record for wins along with a third place finish in the Southern Conference Tournament.
A native of Richmond, Va., Ikenberry has two brothers who both attended VMI. Twin brother Merlin Ikenberry was a teammate as a pitcher and designated hitter while his oldest brother Steve Ikenberry is an alum of the class of 1980. Ikenberry is a graduate of Douglas Freeman High School. He married the former Shannon Marshall in August 2000.
Jonathan Hadra, a four-year letterman and 2004 graduate of VMI, recently completed his first season back coaching with the Keydets. Hadra worked with the infielders and hitters during the 2010 season, and the team reaped immediate rewards.
Not only did the offense break nine school records, including batting average, home runs and total bases, but the team posted the third-best fielding percentage in VMI history. Junior Sam Roberts was a quarterfinalist for the Brooks Wallace Award, presented to the nation's top shortstop, while his fellow infielders Jordan Ballard and Cory Spangenberg also had banner years under Hadra's tutelage. Ballard hit 18 home runs, claimed the career VMI record in that category (41) and was a 33rd-round draft pick of the Colorado Rockies. Spangenberg earned three Freshman All-American honors, was the Big South Freshman of the Year and ranked in the top-10 in the conference in seven different categories.
Hadra, who spent the 2009 season at Bradley, brought five years of coaching experience back to Lexington. Upon his graduation, Hadra coached with VMI in 2005 before working three years at Western Kentucky under VMI graduate Chris Finwood, where he helped the Hilltoppers to a berth in the 2008 NCAA Regionals after capturing the Sun Belt Conference Tournament.
At Bradley, Hadra worked to bring in a freshman class of 16 that was named one of the top recruiting classes in the nation by Collegiate Baseball. Included in the haul were a pair of Junior College All-Americans, a High School All-American and three players that were drafted by MLB clubs. Under Hadra's tutelage, Bradley center fielder Nick Mitidiero earned All-Conference accolades.
Prior to his stint in Peoria, Hadra worked for three seasons at WKU. During that time, he oversaw outfield instruction, base running and bunting while coaching first base. In 2008, the Hilltoppers were picked seventh in the league's preseason poll, yet made just the third NCAA Tournament appearance in program history after capturing the conference tournament championship. Also that season, the WKU defense ranked third in the nation with a .976 team fielding percentage.
In Hadra's second season in Bowling Green, the Hilltoppers went 15-15 in Sun Belt play, recording a conference-record 10-game improvement from their league mark in 2006.
Before joining Finwood's staff in 2005, Hadra spent one season as an assistant coach at VMI. That season, the Keydets broke the school record for wins and knocked off a ranked opponent for the second straight year (#21 Coastal Carolina, 3-2), as Hadra worked with outfielders and assisted instruction in base running, bunting and positional defense.
As a cadet, Hadra was a four-year letterman who graduated with a degree in Economics and Business. Hadra served as team captain his senior year and helped the Keydets break the school record for wins during his junior season. His sophomore season, meanwhile, saw VMI finish with a 16-14 mark in the Southern Conference, breaking the program standard for most conference wins.
Hadra is married to the former Allison Toth, and the couple recently had their first child, Colton, in January 2010.
Ikenberry on Hadra- "I'm very excited to have the opportunity to bring Jonathan back to VMI. His passion for VMI and VMI Baseball shows up on the field daily when interacting with our players. He brings a great defensive mind to our infielders, and understands the kind of offense that we need to play to be successful."
Travis Beazley, former Boston Red Sox minor leaguer and Randolph-Macon assistant coach, has been named the new pitching coach for VMI baseball, according to information released by the program Thursday, August 18.
Beazley joins VMI after spending a year as an assistant at Randolph-Macon, during which time he worked with the pitchers, infielders and hitters for the 2011 ODAC Champions and NCAA Regional participants. He also oversaw the program's recruiting and strength and conditioning, as well as the squad's academic progress.
"Travis has worked with a great collegiate coach in Ray Hedrick at Randolph-Macon for four years," said VMI head coach Marlin Ikenberry. "He is a tireless recruiter and has the knowledge to help our pitching staff excel. I have followed his career as a player in the Red Sox organization and watched his transition into the college ranks, and am very excited to add Travis to our staff."
Prior to his year as a full-time assistant at RMC, Beazley spent most of three seasons in the Boston Red Sox farm system after being selected in the 38th round of the 2006 MLB Draft. He pitched 370 total innings in his career, and led the Boston minor league system in wins and innings pitched during the 2007 season. While pitching for the Red Sox, he spent his fall seasons as a volunteer coach at RMC, working specifically with the pitchers and infielders.
Beazley graduated from Randolph-Macon in 2006, after a standout collegiate career. His 2006 season earned him a litany of awards, including a Second Team All-American Selection, the ODAC Pitcher of the Year honor and the ABCA/Rawlings Division III South Region Pitcher of the Year award. He was also an ESPN the Magazine/CoSIDA First Team All-District All-Academic Selection in 2006, and was a four-year Presidential Scholarship recipient.
Beazley is also a former American Legion Assistant Coach, and has worked camps for VCU, Richmond and Clemson in past years. He is a native of Beaverdam, Va. and a graduate of Patrick Henry High School.