Sun Sports Editor
The Norwich Purple Tornado varsity baseball team had a season to remember.
Finishing 10-9, playing in seven one run games and earning a two seed in the sectional playoffs.
The Purple Tornado produced four All-Stars; Robert Jeffrey: All-Division, Josh Haines: All-Division, Chris Trevisani: All-Division and Cody Barnes: All-Conference.
The 2014 Tornado pitching staff holds the second lowest team ERA in school history, at 2.49.
A major factor in that impressive statistic is the individual ERA Division II Lemoyne pitcher Cody Barnes.
Barnes averaged just .84 runs per inning this year, giving him the lowest individual ERA in team history.
The previous record was set in 2008 by Tim Clark with a .843 ERA.
Barnes threw 75 strikeouts in his senior effort, second only to his junior record of 81 strikeouts.
Combine those two seasons with his sophomore strikeout total of 38, and Barnes has amassed 194 strikeouts in three years as a varsity pitcher.
In the sectional playoff game against Union Springs on May 22, 2014, Norwich’s ace threw 88 pitches, 71 of them strikes.
That is not unusual for Barnes as his career strike percentage is 67% with 1,930 total pitches and 1,288 strikes.
He threw 743 pitches in 2014 and 509 of those pitches were strikes.
Barnes had two 18 strikeout games in his junior year and a 14 strikeout game this season against Chenango Forks. He is fourth all-time in strikeouts for Purple pitchers.
“He put up huge numbers for us,” said Norwich varsity baseball head coach Rich Turnbull.
Two underclassmen, planning on returning next season, aided in garnering the lowest earned run average in ten years.
Cody Brady had a 3.76 ERA and All-Division second baseman and pitcher Chris Trevisani gave up only 25 hits to earn a 2.02 ERA and finish 2-2.
Norwich gave up 82 runs in 19 games in 2014. That’s an average of just four runs a game.
That low number can be attributed to solid team defense.
The outfield recorded 101 put outs this year, 25 percent of the total put out for the team.
With only eight errors, Norwich’s Purple Tornado outfield sucked in every fly ball all season for a fielding percentage over .900.
“I think people were surprised by us,” Turnbull said, “We played meaningful games for the first time in a long time around here.”
Perhaps that lack of recognition is the reason senior third baseman Ricky Runyon was left off the All-Star list.
Runyon batted .455 in 2014 and finished his varsity career with a batting average over .400. He is one of just seven Norwich varsity baseball players to finish his career with a batting average over .400.
”This season was the turning point. These guys set the bar by figuring out how to win,” Turnbull said.
The head coach is looking forward to next season and has a strong supporting cast in the ranks.
With players like catcher Everett Thompson, Patrick Marks, Kevin Porack, Jake Walsh, Nate Sheer, Chris Jeffrey and Nick Murphy all intending on taking the field, The Purple Tornado is set to turn some heads in 2015.
“I think people will be more surprised next year,” Turnbull said.