The Cavaliers are coming off a 39-17 season with high expectations for 2020. The program has enjoyed recent success–including an NJCAA National Championship in 2017–and is poised to make a run at another Region IV championship this spring.
The Cavaliers are coming off a 39-17 season with high expectations for 2020. The program has enjoyed recent success, earning an NJCAA National Championship in 2017 and is poised to make a run at another Region IV championship this spring.
The Cavaliers return several players who saw everyday action and made significant contributions last season as freshmen. They include 2019 All-Region selections LF Kolton Moore (.331 bat avg./.538 slug%/.485 on-base%), 1B Michael Machnic (Webber International University signee)(.344 bat avg./.426 slug%/.472 on-base%) and RHP Nolan Lebamoff (Valparaiso University signee)(ERA – 2.81, S – 11, IP – 25.2, SO – 39). Position players C Nick Anderson (.337 bat avg./.441slug%/.478 on-base%), RF Nate Vargo (Cameron University signee)(.333 bat avg./.493 slug%/.493 on-base%), 3B/DH Jaret Humphrey (Kentucky Wesleyan College signee)(.371 bat avg./.448 slug%/.452 on-base%), and INF Nate James (Indiana University-Kokomo signee)(.256 bat avg./.333 slug%/.279 on-base%).
Division I transfer Clay Thompson has solidified the center field position for the Cavs. Speedy freshman Jake Vera also provides depth in the outfield. Freshman middle infielders Keldon Tyson, Ian Sanders, Eddie Saner, along with transfer Mark Miller, and corner infielders Kyle Kinney, Matt Lelito and Jackson Jasmin will also impact the Cavaliers. Along with Anderson, the catching duties will be handled by talented freshmen Garrett Latoz and Peyton Williams. Williams is coming off of surgery and will be available in mid-season. The Cavaliers return a solid group of impact arms on the mound for 2020. Along with Lebamoff, they return RHP Aaron Ball Jr. (Tulane University signee), RHP Tyler Jasmin (Eastern Illinois University signee), RHP Nick Laxner, RHP Owen Behrens (Quincy University signee), RHP Jake Duffy, and RHP Jake Schlueter. They will also rely on talented freshmen RHP Kyle Iwinski, LHP Gavin King, LHP Connor Krantz, RHP Trey Bryant, RHP Josh Varner, RHP Eddie Saner, RHP Jake Pevion, and RHP Matt Lelito.
“We have talent and depth on the pitching staff and will be able to look to multiple players for success this season,” says Head Coach Todd Post. “Our lineup will be able to score runs in a variety of ways and we will put pressure on our opponents with our team speed. Consistent pitching and defense will give us a great chance to win a Region IV Tournament the second week of May.”
The early season for the Cavaliers consist of an 11-game schedule in nine days, March 6-14 in Southern Illinois.
Head Coach Todd Post Bio
Head Coach Todd Post brings enthusiasm and a passion for the game to the field every day.
Post has completed 19 seasons as the Cavaliers head coach, with a record of 791-356-8. Prior to becoming head coach in 2001, he was the assistant coach for seven years.
During Coach Post’s tenure, the Cavaliers have averaged more than 41 wins per season, and 153 players have gone on to play at the next level. Since 2001, 64 Cavs have been named All-Region, 26 have been named All-Americans, and 12 have signed professional contracts.
In 2017 Post coached the Cavaliers to the NJCAA Division II National Championship, defeating Mercer County C.C. (N.J.), 11-5 in Enid, Okla. The Cavaliers finished with a record of 54-11-1. In 2009, they finished 3rd at the World Series with a record of 52-14-1. In all, the Cavs have won seven Region IV Championships and have made five World Series appearances. Post was inducted into the Region IV Hall of Fame in spring 2020.
Post is a 1987 graduate of Danville Area Community College, where he played basketball for two years. He then attended KCC and began his college baseball career as a pitcher for the Cavaliers in 1988.
Coach Post transferred to Benedictine University in Lisle where he was a two-year First Team NICC All-Conference pitcher. In 1989, he was named to the All-Midwest Region first team, and Athlete of the Year at Benedictine in 1990. He graduated from Benedictine in 1990 with a bachelor’s degree in physical education.
Post has maintained a connection to professional baseball by working as an associate scout for the last 16 years. Since 2002, he has worked with the San Diego Padres.
In addition to head coaching duties, Post works with players on hitting and defensive aspects of the game.
Post also is KCC’s athletic director. He resides in rural Kankakee with his wife, Julianne, and their son, Dylan. Their daughter, Jordan, is a registered nurse at Riverside Medical Center in Kankakee.
Assistant Coach Bryce Shafer Bio
Coach Shafer is entering his fifth season as an assistant at KCC. Since 2016 Coach Shafer has seen 17 of his pitchers move on to four year schools or the MLB Draft: Six to NCAA Division I, five to NCAA Division II, five to NAIA and one– Waylon Richardson–was drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies (2018). In 2019, the Cavaliers pitching staff broke the KCC strikeout record with 414 strikeouts on the season.
Prior to KCC, Coach Shafer attended Valparaiso University from 2007-10. He was selected by the Chicago Cubs in the 2010 Major League Baseball Amateur Draft. In 2010 at Valparaiso, Shafer tallied 121 strikeouts, second-most in Crusader history and third most in Horizon League history, earning him Horizon League Pitcher of the Year and First Team All-Conference honors.
Shafer pitched in the Cubs organization from 2010 to 2012 (2.99 ERA, 110 strikeouts, 111.1 innings). In 2013 Shafer pitched for the Frontier Greys and in 2014, for the River City Rascals, both in the Frontier League of Independent Baseball.
For the Cavaliers, he works with pitchers and catchers and assists with recruiting. Shafer also works as an academic success coach for the Athletic Department. Coach Shafer has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Ft. Hays State University (2015).
Coach Shafer resides in Manteno with his wife, Jill, and their two sons, Carver and Callum.
Assistant Coach Nick Ulrey Bio
Coach Ulrey is entering his second season as an assistant at KCC. Prior to KCC, Ulrey was an assistant at NCAA Division II University of Missouri-St. Louis.
Ulrey’s collegiate career started at KCC in 2013, where he started both years behind the plate. In his time at KCC, he attained All-Region honors and is in 8 of KCC’s career hitting records. Ulrey transferred to UMSL where he was a two-time GLVC All-Conference player and led the GLVC both years in runners caught stealing.
Coach Ulrey has worked with over 250 hitters and catchers in his two years of being an instructor at The Yard Sports Complex in Greenfield, Indiana.
For the Cavaliers, Coach Ulrey will work primarily with the hitters and catchers. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Missouri-St. Louis.