ASHLAND, Va. - As practice has begun for the Randolph-Macon baseball team, head coach Ray Hedrick announced that the program would recognize and honor Kathryn Stephens throughout the 2018 season.
Mrs. Stephens passed away this past fall after nearly 70 years of support and service to R-MC and to the Yellow Jacket baseball program. She was married to longtime R-MC head coach and director of athletics Hugh Stephens. The Yellow Jackets will wear a "KWS" patch throughout the season in honor of Mrs. Stephens.
The Yellow Jackets will have a ceremony to recognize Mrs. Stephens on the weekend of March 3-4 on Hugh Stephens Field at Estes Park.
R-MC is receiving votes in the D3baseball.com/NCBWA Preseason Top 25. The Yellow Jackets will face five opponents this season either ranked or receiving votes in the poll.
Now in his 14th season as head coach at his alma mater, Hedrick and the Yellow Jackets are scheduled to open the season on Feb. 17-18 with a three-game home series against RPI, with a single game on Saturday and a doubleheader on Sunday. After a home contest with Marymount on Feb. 21, R-MC will have a home doubleheader on Feb. 24 against Alvernia, a team receiving votes in the preseason poll.
As the calendar turns to March, the Yellow Jackets will play at Christopher Newport on March 1 before hosting a three-game series March 3-4 against Rowan, another squad earning votes in the D3baseball.com poll. Conference play begins the following weekend with an ODAC doubleheader at Emory & Henry on March 10.
On Saturday, March 17, R-MC will host Guilford at 3 p.m. in the first of a two-game conference set. It will be John Buehler Day, honoring the late football and baseball standout for the Yellow Jackets. The Buehler Bleachers will be dedicated that day for the 1977 graduate.
Little League Day will take place on Saturday, March 24, in conjunction with a home ODAC doubleheader against Bridgewater.
R-MC will have its first meeting with Hampden-Sydney at home on March 27. Four days later, the Yellow Jackets will play a conference doubleheader at Washington and Lee.
The Yellow Jackets will travel to Catholic on April 11. The Cardinals are receiving votes in the D3baseball.com preseason poll. R-MC will have its annual Dugout Club Day on April 14 during its ODAC doubleheader with Eastern Mennonite. The Yellow Jackets will recognize baseball alumni and donors as well as the 2008 ODAC championship team on the 10th anniversary of its title. R-MC's second meeting with H-SC will be on the road on April 18.
R-MC will travel to Shenandoah on April 21 for a conference doubleheader. The Hornets are ranked No. 12 in the D3baseball,com preseason poll. The following weekend, on April 28, the Yellow Jackets will host defending ODAC champion and 2017 College World Series participant Roanoke in a noon doubleheader. The Maroons are 17th in the D3baseball.com poll.
Following the regular-season finale against Christopher Newport at home on May 1, the ODAC Tournament will be held under a new format. The top eight teams will earn berths in the tourney, with the top four teams hosting best-of-three series May 4-6. The four survivors advance to Lynchburg for a double-elimination tourney May 11-13 to determine the ODAC champion.
Randolph-Macon posted an overall record of 26-15 a season ago and went 13-7 in conference play. The Yellow Jackets were the No. 3 seed in the ODAC Tournament. R-MC was in the national polls for the majority of the season, ranked as high as No. 6.