Surging Miami Making Waves In MAC

Under The Radar

The surest sign of a good coach is his ability to adapt when something isn’t working.

So, after Miami of Ohio finished the 2017 season with a 22-34 overall record, this after also failing to eclipse the 30-win mark in 2016, sixth-year head coach Danny Hayden knew he had to do something. He needed to navigate toward an overall approach to his program and not worry so much about the offense from an individual standpoint. After all, his philosophy wasn’t exactly working.

He went out and made some new hires, leading him to hitting coach Justin Dedman at Lee University. Dedman did a fine job during his time at Lee and Hayden told him upon arrival that he would be in total control of the offense. He wanted Dedman to make the offense everything it wasn’t before. So, that is what Dedman has done the past two seasons, and it has led to a steady trend upward, as the Redhawks finished last season with a much-improved 35-win mark and are off to an outstanding 18-5 start this spring, coming off a huge MAC series win over Kent State last weekend.

“The biggest improvement we’ve made, really, is the offense, and Justin has been a huge part of it,” Hayden said. “My whole offensive philosophy when I got here did not lead to walks. We tried to be Neanderthals in the batter’s box and we didn’t walk a ton and we struck out a lot. I didn’t like the way the offense looked with me doing it.

“So, I went out and hired Justin and told him I want you to take over and put your thumb print on this offense,” he continued. “Now, we score runs in a lot of different ways. We steal bases at a successful rate, we walk a lot and our guys have much longer at bats than we’ve had in the past. It’s been a lot of fun to watch — you know, being able to go to the plate and put a lot of pressure on opposing teams.”

The Redhawks have shown immense offensive improvement with plenty of guys from last season, the leaders of the pack being senior outfielder Mackay Williams and junior catcher Cal Elvers.

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