NORFOLK (WAVY) – Chris Finwood is enjoying his best season as head coach of the Old Dominion baseball team. Projected to finish fourth in the preseason rankings, the Monarchs (35-17, 18-9 Conference USA) are alone in second place in the conference standings, and have won 12 of their 13 weekend series.
“I think if you would have said that you’re going to be 35-17, 18-9 in the league going into the last weekend, we’d all took it,” said Finwood.
Not only is his team winning, but they’re winning with home-grown talent from Hampton Roads. “We’re going to always go after the local players first,” said Finwood.
Of the 36 players on the roster, 17 are local, and nine are starters- five position players and four pitchers. Among them, Turner Bishop from Virginia Beach (Kellam High School) was just named Conference USA’s hitter of the week, having batted .526 with 13 RBI, while shortstop Zach Rutherford from Chesapeake (Western Branch High School) is projected by many publications as a top-5 round draft pick.
“To me, the best part (about choosing Old Dominion) was I got to play close to home, and the scholarship was just an added bonus,” said Rutherford.
Finwood only has 11 full scholarships to work with, and yet is still managing to build ODU into a local powerhouse. “We want to be Tidewater’s university,” said Finwood.
His club made an NCAA regional in 2014, and is well on its way towards another trip to the big dance.