Members of the Lehigh baseball team practice on the field on Feb. 10 at Goodman campus. The Mountain Hawks split their first two games of the season against Davidson, winning the first game 5-0 and losing the second 10-6. (Yiwen Wu/B&W staff)

Seniors Rother and Rettig lead the charge for Lehigh baseball


After recording a 17-10 record in Patriot League competition, the Mountain Hawks fell a game short of winning the Patriot League Championship and advancing to the NCAA tournament.

The 2021 Mountain Hawks swept the postseason awards, with senior Casey Rother winning Patriot League Player of the Year, Mason Black winning Patriot League Pitcher of the Year and coach Sean Leary winning Patriot League Coach of the Year.

Black will not return for his senior season after being drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the third round of the 2021 MLB draft. 

This year, senior Luke Rettig will look to step into Black’s role after being named Second Team All-Patriot League in 2021. 

Rettig said the team’s expectation is to win the Patriot League Championship this year after not finishing the job last year.

Last season, Rettig had a 3.59 earned run average (ERA), limiting hitters to a .241 batting average over 62.2 innings pitched. He added 62 strikeouts and did not give up a home run all year.

Rettig said the awards don’t mean anything to him.

“It is just a sticker,” Rettig said. “I’m more focused on the upcoming season. The boys are looking good and everyone’s ready to go. We are tired of practicing.”

Rother said he is ready to get back on the diamond to compete.

Last season, Rother led the team with a batting average of .329, totaling six home runs and 34 runs batted in, while only striking out 15 times. He also led the team in hits with 52.

Rother and Rettig were both named to the preseason All-Patriot League team and as two of the D1 Baseball publication’s top 15 Patriot League baseball prospects. Juniors catcher Adam Retzbach, pitcher Carlos Torres, and seniors first-baseman Gerard Sweeney and third-baseman Joe Gorla were also named to the list. 

“I am super excited,” Rother said. “We have a bunch of new faces on the mound and in the lineup.”

Like Rettig, Rother was noted as a top prospect for this season, but is more focused on team success. 

“We got a lot of stuff to prove,” Rother said. “We came up short (last year).” 

The Mountain Hawks will also be without pitcher Matt Svanson, who was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 2021 MLB Draft after graduating from Lehigh.

Losing two outstanding arms will be a challenge,” coach Sean Leary said in an email. “They were outstanding and led us to the regular-season title and the number one seed.”

Leary is looking forward to pitchers Torres, Rettig and senior Matt Stamford to capitalize on this opportunity and to lead the rotation following the absences of Black and Svanson.

Leary has been with Lehigh baseball for 31 seasons and this will be his 27th as head coach. He said he is relying on his seniors for the success of the ball club this year. 

“Both their talent level and leadership are of equal impact and importance,” Leary said. 

The team is also looking forward to the addition of 13 freshmen on the roster and seeing what they can bring to the program.

“Every year, our freshman class gets better,” Rettig said. “The whole team is really looking forward to watching the freshmen play.” 

The team starts the season with four different weekend series on the road. Lehigh split its first two games against Davidson, winning the first 5-0 and losing the second 10-6. The Mountain Hawks will travel to Mount St. Mary’s, Delaware State and Virginia Military Institute before their first home game on March 15 against Fairleigh Dickinson. 

The Mountain Hawks have not been to the NCAA Regionals since 2015. Leary said the team is excited for the opportunity to get back into the competition.

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