Baseball field renamed to honor former player, coach, administrator Keilitz
Dave Keilitz was Central Michigan baseball's first All-American in 1964.
After graduation, he returned to Mount Pleasant as the head baseball coach. He guided his teams to four Mid-American Conference Championships, then Keilitz served as the CMU athletic director from 1984-1994.
Now, he has the field of Central Michigan baseball's Theunissen Stadium named after him. In a pregame ceremony April 8, the field inside Theunissen Stadium was named Keilitz Field.
The former administrator was named to the Marcy Weston Hall of Fame in 2003, after coaching his teams to four MAC Championships after the transition from Division II to Division I. He earned four Mid-American Conference Coach of the Year awards during his tenure.
The pregame ceremony also honored former coach Dean Kreiner, who is the winningest baseball coach in CMU history. Their numbers, 33 (Kreiner) and 34 (Keilitz), were retired on the right center field fence.
"(Kreiner and Keilitz) set the standard for all of us that are going to come after," said head coach Steve Jaksa. "The legacy that they have created, it's so fitting that we retire their numbers and that the field is named after the Keilitz family."
Both Kreiner and Keilitz are two the top three winningest coaches in program history along with current head coach Steve Jaska. The two former coaches have 10 Mid-American Conference Coach of the Year Awards between them.
"You know, I played for them," said head coach Steve Jaksa. "From that standpoint, it means so very much. They were instrumental in helping bring me back here."
Chippewas fall to Kent State after ceremony
Despite the pregame celebration, the Chippewas struggled against league-best Kent State, who was chosen to win the MAC before the season.
An eight-run seventh inning effort by Kent State sealed the 11-3 defeat for CMU in the first of a three-game series at home.
With the loss, CMU fell to 9-19-1 and 4-3 in the MAC, dropping just below Kent State (16-9, 5-2 MAC) in the conference standings.
Junior right-hander Pat Leatherman took the loss after pitching six shutout innings, falling to 1-4 as a starter this season. He finished with 10 strikeouts, seven hits and four earned runs.
The Chippewas only recorded five hits during the game on the newly-named Keilitz Field. Kent State finished with 13 hits.
Leatherman escaped the first jam of the afternoon as Kent State loaded the bases with two outs in the top of the third inning. Freshman shortstop Zavier Warren fielded a grounder to turn the lone double play of the day.
The scoring drought ended in the top of the seventh, as Kent State loaded up the bases after Leatherman hit his third batter of the day. Collins came in for relief and gave up three more earned runs off two hits and three walks.
"We turned it over to the bullpen and we just couldn't quite get it done there today," Jaksa said. "We've been throwing the ball really well in there but today we didn't throw the ball very well that inning."
The 11-3 loss marks the least runs scored by the Chippewas since March 10, when they were shutout in a 6-0 loss to South Florida.