Local baseball teams ready to get season started


Johnson takes over Covington program

Ben Robinson/GoBuccs.com Colton Francis will be back in the Covington infield this spring.

Ben Robinson/GoBuccs.com Colton Francis will be back in the Covington infield this spring.


Luke Gronneberg/Aim Media File Photo Tyler Lachey returns for Lehman Catholic this spring.


Anthony Weber/Aim Media File Photo Treg Jackson returns for the Newton baseball team this spring.


Mike Ullery/Call File Photo Derek Hite returns for the Piqua baseball team this spring.


Staff Reports

Brad Lavey return for his second season as Piqua coach.

The Indians finished 11-15 overall and year ago and 7-8 in GWOC American play.

Graduating off that team were Travis Smith, Blake Wright, Dakota Iddings, Logan Harris and Zach Luttrell.

Returning letterwinners include seniors Derek Hite, Seth Trapp, Cory Cotrell, Michael Ashcraft, Spencer Lavey and Austin Davis, along with juniors Owen Toopes and Mick Karn.

Hite batted .357 a year ago, with a home run, three doubles and 23 RBIs. He also was 3-2 on the mound with a 3.10 ERA.

Davis missed last season with an injury. As a sophomore, he batted .340 with five doubles and 12 RBIs and 3-0 on the mound with a 1.52 ERA.

Toopes .284 last season and 2-1 on the mound with a 2.15 ERA.

Karn batted .276, while Cotrell hit .263 and led the team with eight steals.

“Our season’s goals are to win every pitch,” Lavey said. “We want to represent our baseball community and school, inside and outside of being a student athlete and we expect to compete and have an opportunity to win every ball game we play in.”

BRADFORD

Andy Mead takes over as Bradford baseball coach.

Bradford was 10-11 overall last year and 6-5 in the CCC.

Graduating off that team were Mason Justice, Dillon Reck, Bryant Byers, Bryson Canan, Walker Branson, Wade Gerlach, Chase Gambill and Jeff Wolf.

Returning letterwinners are seniors Parker Smith and Clay Layman and sophomore Fisher Spencer.

“This year our team is looking forward to a competitive season with the leadership of seven seniors,” Mead said. “Bradford baseball is looking to get over the .500 hump that we’ve been stuck in for the last couple years with a league finish near the top and playing some quality baseball through tournament play.”

COVINGTON

Longtime assistant coach Andy Johnson takes over for Mitch Hirsch, who resigned this winter.

Covington was 5-16 overall last season and 5-7 in the CCC.

Graduating off last year’s team were Nathan Blei, Kenny Atkinson, Triston Francis and Josh Sowers.

Returning letterwinners include seniors Mason Dilley and Braden Miller; junior Gavin McReynolds and sophomores Colton Francis and Gage Kerrigan.

“We are going to be a very young program, with nearly half our numbers coming from the freshman class,” Johnson said. “Regardless, our expectations will not change. I expects us to be focused and prepared to compete in every game we play. I expect our upperclassmen to challenge, support and motivate our younger guys.

“I expect our players to give their best effort on every play and continue to improve every time we take the field. My goal is to be a better team at the end of the year and to put ourselves in a position to surprise some people.”

Johnson hopes to finish in the top half of the CCC and challenge for the league title.

HOUSTON

Brad Allen is back as coach.

The Wildcats were 9-16 overall last year and 5-7 in the SCAL.

Graduating off last year’s team were Isaiah Beaver and Dylan Hensley.

Returning letterwinners include seniors Hunter Herrick and Brad Hickerson; juniors Howie Ludwig, John Leist, Dominic Beaver and Luke Foster and sophomore Jake Trent.

Top newcomers include sophomore Brennan Arnold, junior Ben Couchot and Dexter Ingle.

“With most of our roster returning from a team that finished 5-7 in the league, we still have some gaps to fill,” Allen said. “We are looking to shore up our pitching staff and a couple spots defensively. I am hopeful with the returning letterwinners we have, we will surprise some teams in our league.

“If we show up with energy, enthusiasm and a mind set of winning, then good things are going to happen.”

Allen expects to do well in the SCAL.

“We hope to finish above .500, battle for the top and win a league championship,” Allen said. “Our guys are ready to bring home a league title, but we know our league is one of the best around the area.”

Allen said the Wildcats are anxious to get on the diamond and start playing.

LEHMAN CATHOLIC

Dave King returns for his 11th season at Lehman and 38th overall.

King has a career record of 588-381-3.

Lehman was 23-4 overall last year and 14-0 in the NWCC.

Graduating off that team were Parker Riley (pitcher/third base), Dylan Arnold (shortstop), Brandon Simmons (pitcher), Jared Rourke (pitcher/outfielder) and Blake Leffel (outfielder).

Returning letterwinners include seniors Tyler Lachey, Brandon Barhorst, Ryan Schmidt, Owen Smith and Anthony Karns; juniors Bryce Kennedy, Jared Magoteaux and John Cianciolo and sophomores Drew Barhorst and RJ Bertini.

“We lost 15 varsity wins last year — so we need some players to step up and pitch well for us,” King said. “We are going to try and improve each day with our game.”

Lehman hopes to defend its NWCC title, but expects strong challenges from Marion Elgin and Lima Perry.

MIAMI EAST

Dean Denlinger’s returns for his second season as coach.

Miami East was 12-11 overall and 10-2 in the CCC last year.

Graduating off that team were Mitchel Vernon, Brett Stapleton, Cameron Coomes and Austin Niswonger.

Returning letterwinners included Jacob Arthur, Brandon Wilson, Austin Rutledge, Adam Ott, Andy Wargo and Alex Hayes.

“We want to finish the league with a good positive team identity and strong preparation for the tournament,” Denlinger said. “Build good “teach and trust relationships within the team. Strive to give 100 percent every day and be the best.”

NEWTON

Jordan Kopp returns for his second season as coach.

The Newton pitchers will include senior Treg Jackson, who was 10-0 last year and will play for Wright State-Lake campus and senior Cole Weaver, a hard throwing righthander who will play for Urbana University.

Noah Weaver will be the catcher.

Key infielders include Weaver, senior Nash Lavy and junior Charlie Walker

Key outfielders include juniors Ryan Mollette and Nate Zeilinski.

Newton’s goals are are to compete for a league title and to win a fourth straight straight sectional title.

RUSSIA

Kevin Phlipot returns for his fourth season as coach and has a 64-24 record.

The Raiders were 24-8 overall last year and 10-2 in the SCAL, sharing the league title with Anna and Fort Loramie and finishing as D-IV state runnerup.

Graduating off that team were Clay George, Drew Sherman, Dylan Cordonnier, Kevin Drees and Trenton Monnin.

Returning letterwinners include seniors Daril Lavy, Dion Puthoff, Hunter Cohee (the SCAL Player of the Year last year) and Jack Dapore and juniors Daniel Kearns and Evan Monnier.

“Expectations are high in Russia,” Phlipot said. “Our goal as it is every year is to continue to improve over the course of the season and hopefully we will be playing our best baseball come tournmaent time. If that is the case, we will be able to compete for another SCAL and sectional title.”

Phlipot expects it to come down to Russia, Anna and Fort Loramie again in the SCAL.

VERSAILLES

Ryan Schlater returns as coach.

The Tigers finished 20-7-1 last year and were 6-3 in the MAC.

Graduating off that team were Jacob Heitkamp, Austin Knapke, Isaac Ruhenkamp, Kyle Subler

Returning letterwinners include seniors Kurtis Rutschilling, Noah Grisez, Noah Richard, Cole Niekamp, Elliot Bruns and Keaton McEldowney; and juniors Will Eversole, Andrew DeMange, Zach Griesdorn and Kyle Pothast.

“Our number one goal is to win our league,” Schlater said. “We had a chance last year but lost a couple tough games. Our next goal is to get back to Columbus. Our seniors were sophomores when we last went and they want to get back. We expect to be in the hunt to get back there this year.”

Schlater expects the MAC to be as strong as always and hopes the Tigers will be near the top in the standings.

Ben Robinson/GoBuccs.com Colton Francis will be back in the Covington infield this spring.
http://www.dailycall.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/30/2018/03/web1_colton_francis-1.jpgBen Robinson/GoBuccs.com Colton Francis will be back in the Covington infield this spring.

Luke Gronneberg/Aim Media File Photo Tyler Lachey returns for Lehman Catholic this spring.
http://www.dailycall.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/30/2018/03/web1_SDN042217LehBase2-1.jpgLuke Gronneberg/Aim Media File Photo Tyler Lachey returns for Lehman Catholic this spring.

Anthony Weber/Aim Media File Photo Treg Jackson returns for the Newton baseball team this spring.
http://www.dailycall.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/30/2018/03/web1_treg-jackson-1.jpgAnthony Weber/Aim Media File Photo Treg Jackson returns for the Newton baseball team this spring.

Mike Ullery/Call File Photo Derek Hite returns for the Piqua baseball team this spring.
http://www.dailycall.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/30/2018/03/web1_derekhite-1.jpgMike Ullery/Call File Photo Derek Hite returns for the Piqua baseball team this spring.
Johnson takes over Covington program

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