By Rob Kiser
Piqua Daily Call
PIQUA — Another Toopes cousin made his college decision in the Piqua High School commons this week, while Edison State Community College made it a complete sweep of the Piqua softball seniors.
• Grant Toopes
Toopes, the son of Brian and Kelly Toopes, made the decision to sign with Otterbein University.
“I really liked everything about it,” Toopes said about Otterbein. “I think there is a great opportunity for me once I graduate (he will major in business and marketing).”
Toopes took his game to another level this season.
After two tackles his sophomore year and 11 his junior year, the defensive lineman recorded 45 tackles this past season, with 4.5 sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.
“Grant (Toopes) more than tripled his production this season from a year ago,” Piqua football coach Bill Nees said. “Otterbein is excited about getting him and thinks he has a good opportunity to play right away. The school is nearly Columbus (Westerville), which is a great location.”
Toopes is excited about the opportunity.
“I grew up playing with my brother (Jarrett) and my cousins (Owen Toopes, Brennan Toopes),” Toopes said. “I always thought about it (playing in college). That is something we always talked about.”
And now he has the opportunity to make it happen.
“Last year, really got me excited,” he said. “I think I can still learn a lot. I think the Otterbein coaches will put me in a position to excel.”
• Mariah Blankenship
Blankenship, the daughter of Eric and Angie Blankenship. will join teammates Kamy and Kylie Trissell on the Edison State softball diamond next season. They are the only three seniors on this year’s team.
“People are always joking about us being all in a straight line,” Blankenship said. “Kylie is the catcher, I am the pitcher and Kamy is in centerfield.”
Blankenship said the decision to go to Edison State was an easy one.
“My sister (Kyla Blankenship) played in college and I knew I wanted to,” she said. “I wanted to stay close to home and I have some friends on the Edison State team. I know the coach (Dan Cain) because he coached Troy when I was a freshman.”
Blankenship has been a mainstay on the diamond for Piqua.
She is a four-year started and virtually the only pitcher the last three seasons.
As a freshman, she started at third base and batted .333 with four doubles and 16 RBIs.
As a sophomore, she batted .358 with six doubles, four home runs and 21 RBIs.
She had a 12-14 record on the mound, with a .478 ERA.
As a junior, she batted .474 with seven doubles, a triple, two home runs and 23 RBIs.
She had 78 strikeouts pitching, with a 3-13 record and a 6.26 ERA.
This season, she has a 16-8 record pitching, with 78 strikeouts and a 5.33 ERA.
She has batted .366 with six doubles and 23 RBIs.
“For one thing, Mariah (Blankenship) pitches almost every game,” Edison State coach Dan Cain said. “So, you know she is a workhorse. She can play first base and third base and she has always been able to hit. She gives us a lot of versatility. We signed all three Piqua players. So, all people have do is walk across the street and they can continue to watch them play. We hope to continue that in the future.”
Piqua coach Greg Campbell will be one of those people.
“It will be great to go to Edison and watch all three seniors continue to play,” Campbell said. “It is a great opportunity for Mariah (Blankenship). She is a talented player with a lot of versatility.”
And like Toopes, gets to continue her athletic career at the next level.
Piqua Daily Call Sports Editor Rob Kiser can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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