Two Spartans Return to Lead SwampDogs in 2013

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The Fayetteville SwampDogs have announced the return of Tyler Ding and Connor Obrochta (pictured L-R, courtesy of East to West Photography) from perennial DII powerhouse, the University of Tampa. Ding, an infielder, and Obrochta, an outfielder, will don the pinstripes for their second season.

The 5-10, 185-pound Ding is picking up right where he left off last summer in his junior season for the Spartans. The Tampa, Fla. native played in 11 games hitting third on the team at .387, with three doubles and seven RBI. He finished his first season with the SwampDogs third on the team in batting average (.305), with 23 RBI, and a team leading nine doubles with 10 stolen bases. In his sophomore campaign at Tampa he saw action in 37 games, starting 24. He finished the season hitting .271 with 11 RBI earning him a conditional spot on the SwampDogs roster. His tremendous work ethic and steady play earned him a full time spot as the Dogs made their push for the Petitt Cup in 2012.  

Obrochta, a 6’, 195-pound junior from Gulfport, Fla., is also starting his junior season off with a bang. He’s hitting .346 in 11 games with three doubles and three stolen bases in as many attempts. Obrochta played in 49 games in his inaugural season with the Dogs, hitting .236 with 22 RBI and 19 stolen bases. His sophomore Spartan season he finished third on the team in batting average (.348), second on the team with eight stolen bases and pushed across 21 RBI. His presence in the outfield at “The Swamp” will be integral in the success of the SwampDogs in 2013.

“We are very excited to have both Tyler and Connor committed for this summer,” said SwampDogs head coach Darrell Handelsman. “Both played a big part in our great success last summer, not only with their play on the field, but also with their energy and passion for the game. I expect them both to lead us this summer. Tyler was arguably our most clutch hitter last summer, always seeming to get the big hit at the right time. Connor used his speed and aggressiveness to excel on the basepaths and defensively in center field.”

Ding and Obrochta look to continue a long standing tradition of success in Fayetteville from the University of Tampa. They look to follow Spartan/SwampDogs teammates Eric Grabe, Cody Davis, Frank DeJiulio and Shawn Pleffner in a long list of Spartan/SwampDogs that have continued their baseball careers professionally.

The Fayetteville SwampDogs are a proud member of the Coastal Plain League, entering their 13th season in the nation’s hottest summer collegiate baseball league. Celebrating its 17th season in 2013, the CPL features 14 teams playing in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. The CPL gives college players the chance to refine their skills with the use of wooden bats. Players are housed with local host families for the summer and past experiences have been very positive for both players and hosts. Furthermore, the CPL has had over 1,000 alumni drafted and 55 alums – including 2011 AL MVP and Cy Young winner Justin Verlander – make their Major League debut thus far. For more information on the Coastal Plain League, please visit the league website at www.coastalplain.com, and be sure to friend us on Facebook (at www.facebook.com/coastalplainleague) and follow us via Twitter (as cpleague).