Don’t sleep on clay this year. I think they are a strong dark horse. Built very similar to the AW and Perrysburg teams that have made state runs. SJJ has the most talent but first year coach with no varsity coach experience I think will take some lumps. Sfs and central will be well fundamently sound. 5-8 just isn’t on the same level.
Clay Soph and Junior classes are very strong. Good group of kids who work hard. The future is bright in Oregon.
10 runs on Defiance? Is Defiance in a down year or was SFS playing well?Saw SFS put up a 10 spot on Defiance last night. SJJ tied Rossford 2-2. Scrimmages so not going to put to much stock in any results. I did see pictures of the Rossford field. Wow.. I think clay has a similar set up with the turf infield.
10 runs on Defiance? Is Defiance in a down year or was SFS playing well?
How many starters do SJJ and SFS return? I know TCC only has two.
TCC scrimmages Rossford today. I believe they open up the season against Wauseon. Should be a good way to gain some momentum with a win.
TCC won 12-1. Shaky start for some of their pitchers, but they were able to move past that. Makes sense, this is their first time playing high school ball in about a year, so no surprise there would be some jitters. Their two returning starters had some hot bats today, as well as some of the other senior players. Interested to see what the season holds for them.Rossford has 5 sophomores on the varsity. I think the seniors pitched yesterday against SJJ, so CC will probably get at least a couple of the younger guys today.
Who does Southview have back? I remember they had one kid who was going to Purdue I believe?Just looked at Maxprep and looks like SFS next scrimmage is against SV
Big agree here. I think it just makes it all the more exciting to see how everything pans out.No idea on the Blade. Might be really difficult to do a preview. All the coaches I talk to have no idea what to expect out of their teams with a full year off. I think you are going to see some really weird results all spring until teams get brought back up to speed.
You got anything about SFS/SJJ? I know SJJ got a NV transfer who's apparently pretty decent, but that Rossford scrimmage was making me wonder how they were looking. I've actually had the chance to meet their new coach, seems like a standup guy who's got some big ambitions for whatever program he is in charge of. I think he played some semi-pro ball too, actually.
Is this more of a COI regarding the fact that he'd be able to recruit players from the pipeline he's garnered, or is there something wrong w/ DC in general.He is heavily involved with Demand Command which seems to rub some of the local coaches the wrong way.
I would definitely agree. Didn't realize that SFS was up 7-1 and nearly blew the lead to win 10-9, though. Still should be a solid team this year, they are probably a lot more ready than most teams.SFS will be interesting. Gerkin always does a nice job with the program. A lot of players were on the travel circuit last summer and did well. Putting a 10 spot on defiance is interesting. Pretty sure held can count on 1 finger how many times an opponent has seen double digits since the BBCOR bat came out. I would have them at or near the top of the TRAC if I had to play the guessing game as of today.
From what I heard, I believe the NV kid wasn't even going to play for Northview. He was just going to play travel ball the entire spring, I guess. Wouldn't be surprised if that decision was influenced by any DC coaches. And I wouldn't be surprised if your inference will be the actual case.Demand command is a great program. My nephew plays in it and I would recommend it to anyone that is looking for a regional based program. I think its more along the lines of having access to parents/players is the vibe I got.... example.. The NV transfer you mentioned earlier, played for the SJJ coach last summer. I'm sure you can connect the dots between how that transfer happened. Just a hunch but I doubt Coach Szparka is going to be pushing his players to Demand Command in the future. (The last part I'm inferring, Have not actually spoken to Greg on that topic)
The baseball travel industry seems to respect the high school season. There is no 15-18 tournaments during the hs season anywhere. Could it happen? Absolutely.. but I think the general feeling is play the spring with your school and then go play travel in the summer and fall.I wonder how much longer it will be before travel ball over takes HS baseball. I do not think it will be long before you start seeing kids forego HS baseball to play on their travel team and head down South most of the current Ohio HS season (April & May - Thurs/Fri to Sunday tournaments). Much like hockey, many kids these days take a step backwards playing HS ball as opposed to their high level travel squads. Just thinking aloud.
Steve Junga said:When the 2021 high school baseball season opens Saturday, the overwhelming sentiment will be an appreciation that there will be a season.
With the 2020 spring sports season in Ohio eliminated by the coronavirus pandemic, players and coaches are grateful to get back on the diamond.
In the Three Rivers Athletic Conference — despite the year away — it appears things will pick up where they left off in 2019, when rivals St. Francis de Sales (18-9, 11-3 TRAC) and St. John's Jesuit (21-7, 11-3) shared the conference title.
The Knights of 15th-year St. Francis coach Tim Gerken were voted as the 2021 title favorite in a preseason poll of TRAC coaches, receiving six of the eight first-place votes, and 61 of a possible 64 voting points.
St. John's, under first-year coach Sam Fischer, got the other two first-place nods, and was second in the poll with 52 points, followed by Clay (45 points), Central Catholic (42), Findlay (39), Whitmer (24), Fremont Ross (15), and Lima Senior (10).
St. Francis has 11 seniors on its roster, and Gerken expects leadership to come from three returning letterwinners — seniors Sam Harrison (shortstop, second base, catcher) and Tyler Nowowiejski (SS), and junior Trey Talboo (outfielder, pitcher).
The Knights also look for production from senior Peyton Bruns (first base, P) and sophomore Josiah Erd (C-P).
Gerken sees pitching, defense, and team speed as strengths for the Knights, but is concerned with the team's ability to score runs with so many unproven hitters at the varsity level.
“We should be able to compete for our fifth consecutive TRAC title,” Gerken said, “if our guys can continue our pitching-rich tradition, and find a way to score runs.”
The Knights were ousted from the 2019 Division I tournament with a 2-1 loss to Southview in the district semifinals.
At St. John's, Fischer was supposed to begin his first season as Titans head coach a year ago, but will do so for real in the next few days.
He has nine seniors on his roster, including seven players who earned letters.
Leading that group are seniors Nick Pett (SS), Jacob Davis (P), and Ryan Snyder (OF), and juniors Trey Lake (2B-P) and Reece Magers (OF-P). Pett has committed to play at Wooster, Davis at Kalamazoo.
Fischer likes the Titans' pitching and defense, but is concerned with the lack of varsity experience.
“Across the board, we have a bunch of guys who love the game and love each other,” Fischer said. “That's a really good recipe for developing and competing together. It'll be exciting to watch.”
The Titans were knocked out of the 2019 D-I tourney by Northview, 5-1, in the district semis.
Clay (18-7, 8-6) and eighth-year Eagles coach Jim Phillips were excited in 2020 to be debuting their new artificial-turf infield, but that christening had to wait a year.
Although Clay lost some key players to graduation who never got to play their senior year, the cupboard is not bare with nine letterwinners and six seniors on this year's roster.
Leading that group are seniors Logan Heintschel (OF-1B), Trevor Jurski (P-1B), and Ethan Spears (OF-P), and juniors Spencer Fortier (2B-SS) and Jackson Kennedy (catcher). Jurski was 5-1 with a 1.63 ERA as a sophomore in 2019.
Phillips views offense, defense, and speed as team strengths, but sees inexperience on the mound as a possible trouble area.
“This team has a high ceiling,” Phillips said, “and while we have a lot of newcomers to the varsity like most teams in the area, I am confident in their abilities. We expect to compete for a TRAC and district title.
“Having lost this past season, leadership will be crucial in getting players acclimated to playing at the varsity level.”
The Eagles exited the 2019 D-I tournament in a 7-4 district semifinal loss to Anthony Wayne.
Central Catholic (18-9, 10-4) just missed out on a TRAC title share in its final conference game of the 2019 season, and has eight seniors on the current roster. But, only two Fighting Irish players are returning letterwinners, so 35th-year coach Jeff Mielcarek will take a wait-and-see approach.
He will rely heavily on seniors Wilson Stopera (SS-P), Owen Kitz (OF-1B-P), and Shilo Bernal (OF-P), along with junior Trey Gray (catcher), especially early in the season.
Mielcarek likes his team's athletic ability and work ethic, but is cautiously optimistic with Central's inexperience, an all-new pitching staff, and uncertainties at the plate.
“Our guys have really made it fun to be on the diamond with their work ethic, passion, and enthusiasm,” Mielcarek said. “Our season success, in terms of wins and losses, will come with how quickly our guys progress at the varsity level with our challenging schedule.”
In 2019, the Irish were beaten in a Division II sectional final by Wauseon, 3-2.
Findlay (14-10, 9-5) also had a new coach ready to lead the way in 2020, but Ron Ammons will lead the Trojans for the first time this season. He has 12 seniors on his roster.
Out of 10 returning letterwinners, he will look for leadership from seniors Garit Krupp (P-infielder), Andrew Stechschulte (catcher), with Ryan Stillings (OF-P), Ethan Franks (2B-P), and Nicholas Lavelle (OF-P).
“We should challenge to finish in the top third of the TRAC, and could challenge for the TRAC title,” Ammons said.
Whitmer (13-13, 6-8) looks to make a climb in the TRAC this season under sixth-year coach Brad Densmore, who has eight players that were part of the program in 2019, but none at the varsity level.
The Panthers will be led by seniors Johnny Kregulka (P-utility), Cole Kimura (1B-P), Adam Sniegowski (P), Jacob Snodgrass (OF-P), and Ethan Lewandowski (OF-P), and junior Grady Mee (SS).
Infield defense and pitching depth are seen as team strengths, but Whitmer's overall lack of speed might be a trouble area.
“With the cancellation of last season, we start this year with no players that have varsity experience,” Densmore said. “However, I really like our senior class, and the leadership with this group. We had a great offseason to build off of, and will continue to work hard and focus on getting better every day, and to grow up and quickly and steadily throughout the season.”
Whitmer was eliminated from the 2019 D-I tournament in the sectionals finals, losing 7-1 to Northview.
Fremont Ross (7-18, 2-12) has only one starter from two seasons ago on the current roster for fourth-year Little Giants coach Jared King.
Ross will rely upon seniors Jonathan Szymanowski (IF), Erick Jimenez (P-IF), and Garrett Ebert (P-OF) for leadership, and also must get contributions from junior Owen Wright (P-OF) and sophomore Alejandro Melchor (P-IF).
Szymanowski batted .281 with 10 runs batted in and seven doubles in 2019.
King points to pitching depth as a strength, and the obvious inexperience as a potential trouble area.
“Although we have nine seniors, I consider us to be a very young team, because we only have one player with any significant time at the varsity level,” King said. “We have a good mix of older and younger guys that have some talent and are willing to compete. We will be solid on the mound, and defensively. Our biggest challenge will be gaining experience on the fly.”
The Little Giants were beaten 10-0 in the 2019 D-I sectionals by St. Francis.
Lima Senior (10-19, 0-14) was making some progress at the end of the 2019 season, and now will have to try to reestablish that momentum. The Spartans did not win a league game two seasons ago, but upset Findlay in the Division I sectionals and battled against Perrysburg in a 3-1 district semifinal loss.
Fourth-year coach Casey Reed will look for leadership from senior D'Ontre Cowan (P-OF), juniors Reece Waithe (C-utility), Skyler Williams (P-utility), and Dalton Hahn (P-IF), and sophomore Marshall Jordan (P-IF).
Reed sees team speed and versatility as the Spartans' chief strengths, but knows the team will need to overcome its inexperience, especially on the mound.
“We are very young and inexperienced,” Reed said. “We may go through some growing pains, but should get better as the year goes on. The kids have worked really hard in the offseason, and we are excited to see what they can do.”
SJJ coach was an assistant at Central and BG. Played college at adrian and had a short stint in indy ball. He is heavily involved with Demand Command which seems to rub some of the local coaches the wrong way. The Rossford Result was surprising but it's mid march so who knows. I think they will be just fine. As a certain coach likes to say "They grow on trees down on airport".
SFS will be interesting. Gerkin always does a nice job with the program. A lot of players were on the travel circuit last summer and did well. Putting a 10 spot on defiance is interesting. Pretty sure held can count on 1 finger how many times an opponent has seen double digits since the BBCOR bat came out. I would have them at or near the top of the TRAC if I had to play the guessing game as of today.
7 Fremont Ross
8 Lima Sr
Next year they will be solid and in two years look out. They are loaded with Frosh and Sophmores. They could make a real nice run in two years.I like Clay's young talent. I think they are a year away.
The extra inning loss to St. Johns hurts and this next week they have a brutal schedule that could go a long way in determining if they finish anywhere from 1st to 4th in the league with games vs Findlay and St. Francis sandwiched between several other good non-league games.
7 games in 7 days is brutal on a high school pitching staff. Pray for some well timed rain.
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