Lavey takes over as Piqua baseball coach


Local teams look for success on diamond

Mike Ullery/Call File Photo Blake Wright and Piqua have their eyes on a successful season this spring.


Mike Ullery/Call File Photo Piqua’s Derek Hite fires a strike last season.


Rob Kiser/Call File Photo Tyler Lachey and Lehman Catholic hope this spring will be a hit.


Staff Reports

Brad Lavey takes over as Piqua baseball coach this spring.

Lavey has served various roles as assistant coach for the last seven years, including freshman, JV and varsity assistant.

Lavey played for Rick Gold at Piqua and was a catcher for Bowling Green.

Piqua finished 10-15 overall last year and 5-5 in the GWOC North.

Graduating off that team were second baseman Rupert Delacruz and outfielders Noah Lyman, Alex Nees Derrick Gullett and Jarrett Toopes.

Returning letterwinners include seniors Dakota Iddings, Logan Harris, Zack Luttrell, Travis Smith and Blake Wright and juniors Cory Cottrell, Austin Davis, Derek Hite and Ethan Garland.

Smith, a shortstop/pitcher, was a first team All-GWOC North selection a year ago.

He batted .373 with five doubles, a triple and a home run and 10 RBIs

Wright, Davis and Hite were all second team All-GWOC North selections.

Davis was 3-0 last year with a 1.62 ERA and batted .340 with five doubles, but is currently out with a foot injury.

Wright pitched a no-hitter against Sidney last year and had 33 strikeouts in 42 innings and a 2.46 ERA.

Hite, coming off ACL surgery in football, is expected to be back and had a 2-2 record and 2.15 ERA a year ago, while striking out 28 batters in 29 innings.

Hite, at first base when he is not pitching, also batted 297 with eight doubles and led the team with 25 RBIs.

Garland, a catcher, had 20 assists on defense last year.

Harris, a third baseman, batted .273 a year ago with seven RBIs, while Cottrell had three assists in centerfield without an error and led the team with nine stolen bases.

Lavey’s goal is to positively represent the team, teammates, their family, school and community in every way on and off the field.

His expectations are to play the game with effort, enthusiasm and hustle.

“I won’t make any predictions on record or league finishes,” Lavey said. “But, I will predict the team will compete in the last out, give maximum effort, hustle and will represent the name on the front of their uniform in a positive manner.”

Bradford

Shane Snyder returns for his eighth season as coach.

Returning letterwinners include Mason Justice, Dillon Reck, Chase Gambill, Jeff Wolf, Wade Gerlach, Walker Branson, Bryant Byers and Bryson Canan; and juniors Parker Smith, Clay Layman and Andy Branson.

“We are returning an experienced team this season with a tremendous amount of leadership,” Snyder said. “We always have very high expectations for our program and set realistic goals. This year is no different.

Covington

Mitch Hirsch returns for his 17th season as coach.

The Buccs finished 11-10 overall last year and 10-2 in the CCC.

Graduating off that team were James Grilliot, Jared Williams, Noah Thomas, Levi Winn, Ben Kuether and Coleman Ryan.

Returning letterwinners include seniors Nathan Blei, Kenny Atkinson, Tristin Sowers and junior Mason Dilley.

Hirsch hopes to compete for the CCC title.

Houston

Brad Allen returns as Houston baseball coach.

The Wildcats finished .500 last season at 13-13 and have five players returning from that squad

Returning are seniors Isaiah Beaver and Dylan Hensley, and three sophomores in Howie Ludwig, Tristen Freistuhler and Dominic Beaver.

“We should have a solid pitching staff with some very good bats returning to our lineup,” Allen said. “Ludwig returns with a .440 average, and Isaiah Beaver and Hensley return as four-year starters. They will be key to our success. I have some very good leadership with a nice mix of experience and youth. We have good numbers in our program and everyone is competing. I know the league will be competitive as usual and our goal is to finish among the top teams.”

Isaiah Beaver was 3-4 with a 3.93 earned run average last season, and Hensley was 4-4 with a 3.94. Ludwig will also be counted on to pitch.

Dominic Beaver and a freshman, Jacob Trent, will do the catching, and Isaiah Beaver will be at first when he isn’t on the mound. He hit .389 last season.

At second will be Freistuhler and at third will be Hensley, who hit .370 last season. Shortstop will be manned by Ludwig, and two of the outfield spots will likely go to D. Beaver and John Leist, who hit .333 a year ago.

Among the top newcomers who will add depth to the roster are junior infielder/outfielder Mason Schaffer, junior pitcher/infielders Dexter Ingle and Hunter Herrick, and junior infielders Brad Hillerson and John Dilullo.

Lehman Catholic

Veteran coach Dave King returns for this 38th season as a varsity baseball coach.

The Cavaliers are coming off a 23-5 season and a NWCC title.

Lost to graduation were D-IV state Player of the Year Nate Bosway, Max Schutt, Stephen Monnin, Ian Smith, Michael Largent, Avery Pickerel, Tyler Scott and CJ Trahey.

Returning letterwinners include seniors Parker Riley, Dylan Arnold, Jared Rourke and Brandon Simmons; juniors Brandon Barhorst, Tyler Lachey and Owen Smith; and sophomore Jared Magoteaux.

“Every year you have to replace your senior players — and we lost some key ones,” King said. “I am confident that we have kids that will step up. We want to compete in our own league and ready ourselves for tournament play.”

King expects Lima Perry, Riverside, Ridgemont and Upper Scioto Valley to all provide a challenge in the NWCC.

Miami East

Dean Denlinger takes over as baseball coach after a successful run as Covington softball coach.

Graduating off last year’s team were Scott Kirby and Braxton Donaldson.

Returning letterwinners include seniors Brett Stapleton, Mitchell Vernon, Austin Niswonger, Omar Seleme and Cameron Commes; and juniors Colton Purves, Austin Rutledge, Brandon Wilson, Adam Ott, Jacob Arthur and Jacob Brown.

“We want to build good ‘teach and trust relationships’ within the team,” Denlinger said. “We strive to give 100 percent every day and be the best.”

His goal for the season is to finish the league with a good positive team identity and strong preparation for the tournament.

Newton

Jordan Kopp takes over as Newton baseball coach after being an assistant the last three years.

Newton was 19-10 overall last year, 6-6 in the CCC and sectional champions.

Graduating off that team were four-year starters Wade Ferrell and Bryan Delcamp.

Senior catcher Rhett Gipe, who batted .422 last year with three homers and 13 doubles, is back along with seniors Nelson Clymer and Austin Evans; juniors Treg Jackson, who was 7-1 on the mound with 86 strikeouts and 1.70 ERA and Nash Lacy; and sophomores Nate Zelinski, Ryan Mollette and Charlie Walker.

“Our goal is to win 20 games and win our third straight sectional championship,” Kopp said. “If we play good defense and our pitchers throw strikes, we should have a successful season.”

Kopp hopes to finish in the top half of the CCC.

Russia

Kevin Phlipot returns for his third season as coach.

The Raiders finished 17-9 overall last year and 8-4 in the SCAL.

Graduating off that team were Bryant McCarty, Connor Monnin, Jake Gariety, Jarred Goubeaux, Jonah Counts, Jordan Swartz and Zach Sherman.

Returning letterwinners include seniors Drew Sherman and Kevin Drees; and juniors Dion Puthoff and Hunter Cohee.

“We are a very athletic team with many players capable of playing multiple positions,” Phlipot said. “Our strengths should be our pitching and defense. I expect Hunter Cohee, Kevin Drees, Jack Dapore and Daniel Kearns to do the bulk of the pitching.

“Drew Sherman, Dion Puthoff, Daniel Lavy and Evan Monnier will be in the mix as well. Our success will be tied closely to the offense. If we hit well, we should win our share of games.”

Phlipot expects the Raiders to compete with Anna and Fort Loramie for the SCAL title, but said Houston should also do quite well and pick up some big wins.

Versailles

Ryan Schlater returns for his fourth season as Versailles coach.

The Tigers were 23-5 overall last season, 8-1 in the MAC, sharing the league title and advancing to the D-III state semifinals.

Graduating off last year’s team were Brett McEldowney, Jared Niekamp, Adam Lyons, Jake Watren and Collin Peters.

Returning letterwinners include seniors Austin Knapke, Kyle Subler, Jacob Heitkamp and Isaac Ruhenkamp; and juniors Keaton McEldowney, Cole Niekamp and Kurtis Rutschilling.

“We have a target on our back last year’s run to state,” Schlater said. “We have a great group of kids back this year and expectations are still high. They have experience and a deep run in the tournament and we feel we have a good shot to get back to Columbus.

“We will have a couple key spots to fill in the outfield and on the mound, with losing our five seniors from last year — but our newcomers have been ready to step up.”

Schlater hopes to repeat as MAC champions as long as his team stays focused on the task at hand.

Mike Ullery/Call File Photo Blake Wright and Piqua have their eyes on a successful season this spring.
http://dailycall.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/web1_051116mju_bb_phs_13-1.jpgMike Ullery/Call File Photo Blake Wright and Piqua have their eyes on a successful season this spring.

Mike Ullery/Call File Photo Piqua’s Derek Hite fires a strike last season.
http://dailycall.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/web1_041516mju_bb_phs_20-1.jpgMike Ullery/Call File Photo Piqua’s Derek Hite fires a strike last season.

Rob Kiser/Call File Photo Tyler Lachey and Lehman Catholic hope this spring will be a hit.
http://dailycall.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/web1_tylerlachey-1.jpgRob Kiser/Call File Photo Tyler Lachey and Lehman Catholic hope this spring will be a hit.
Local teams look for success on diamond
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