By Rob Kiser
There is almost no place Brad Lavey would rather spend a night than at Hardman Field.
Lavey grew up playing baseball there at Piqua for Hall of Fame coach Rick Gold, then went on to play for Bowling Green and has been an assistant coach for Piqua the last seven years.
So, he seemed a natural choice after Jared Askins resigned to be the new varsity baseball coach — which became official several weeks ago.
“I love the game of baseball,” Lavey said before one of Piqua’s fall workouts at Hardman Field. “I love being at Hardman Field. I love the smell of the place. I just enjoy teaching the game and teaching the kids the craft I know about the sport.”
Lavey has been an assistant coach for Piqua the last seven years.
“I had coached the Piqua Blue (acme team) for coach Gold for several years,” Lavey said. “Then, I got out of it. Jared (Askins) played for Bowling Green. At the time he got the job, Kyle Rasor was an assistant coach and approached me about an opening for a freshman coach. I didn’t make the connection until then who Jared (Askins) was. I started out as freshman coach seven years ago and have been doing it ever since.”
Lavey familiarity with the program is an added plus.
“I think so,” he said. “You like to have that continuity and keep that in the program whenever you can.”
Since he got the job, Lavey has been busy preparing for next season, holding Fall workouts at the field.
“The job just got finalized last month,” Lavey said. “Basicially, the Fall is about working on fundamentals,” he said. “That transitions into the winter program with (weight) lifting and indoor baseball and gets us ready for the spring.”
And the cupboard is not bare at Piqua.
Among the starters that return off last year’s 10-14 teams are senior pitcher/shortstop Travis Smith, senior third baseman Logan Harris, senior pitcher Dakota Iddings, senior pitcher Blake Wright, junior pitcher Austin Davis, junior catcher Ethan Garland and junior centerfielder Cory Cotrell.
Junior first baseman Derek Hite would have been back as well ,but tore his ACL during football season.
Smith and Davis both batted over .300 a year ago, while Davis was 3-0 on the mound with an ERA of 1.62. Wright pitched a no-hitter last year and had an ERA of 2.46.
“There is taltent there,” Lavey said. “I think there is talent in this community. It just needs to be cultivated.”
For Lavey, the baseball part of the coaching is the easy part.
“I am ready for that,” Lavey said. “I still need to work some things out as far as the paper work and going to meetings. Things like ordering uniforms and hats and getting used to all the administrative stuff. As far as the baseball part of it, I can’t wait.”
Which is why he was the perfect choice as the next Piqua baseball coach.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.