When you coach for nearly two decades as St. Henry’s John Dorner has, you learn to take the good with the not so good. For Dorner, the good has been phenomenal, as he has helped guide the Redskins to three state championships since 1999. The not so good are the seasons he is forced to deal with heavy tolls left by graduation. Such is the case this spring.
Parts of the not so good are the seasons he is forced to deal with heavy tolls left by graduation. Such is the case this spring, as the Redskins expect eight or nine underclassmen to contribute to most of the playing time.
Nick Bruns returns for his junior season, and will secure the middle of the infield at shortstop, while sophomore Brad Kremer will play second base. When Bruns pitches Kremer will likely move to shortstop, while junior Nick Rindler or Chad Siefring will substitute at second base. Seniors Jordan Jacobs and Darren Siefring will split time at first base, while sophomore Zach Fishbaugh will get the nod at the hot corner at third base. He replaces Andy Puthoff, who earned All-Ohio honors on multiple occasions prior to graduating last year.
When Fishbaugh takes the mound, Neil Schwieterman will move in from centerfield to fill in at third. Catching for the Redskins will be junior Jason Wourms. He replaces three-year starter Mike Gast, who was also a casualty of graduation last spring.
“We expect one of our biggest strengths this season to be our infield defense,” explained Dorner. “We should be very strong up the middle with Bruns returning at shortstop and Kremer, who I believe has the best glove on the team, at second base. The others have been very solid early on so far, so we are very excited.”
Leading the charge on the Redskins’ pitching staff will likely be Bruns, who last season went 1-0 with a 1.05 earned run average in very limited action. Lefty Brent Kremer will probably be the No. 2 starter, as his only varsity experience on the hill includes going 1-1 a year ago.
Senior Darren Siefring went 1-0 in 2007 in ten innings of work, while Brad Kremer, who logged significant innings on the mound last summer, will also likely see some playing time this spring.
Juniors Chad Siefring and Rindler will be joined by sophomores Jordan Post and Fishbaugh as they all expect to contribute some mound work as the season progresses.
“Our pitching staff is one of our biggest question marks coming into the 2008 season,” Dorner remarked. “We return less than 40 innings of varsity experience, so it will take a lot of patience and experimentation early on to hopefully find the groove that we need to carry through the season.”
Returning in the outfield for the Redskins, who finished 20-6 last season, is left fielder Brent Kremer. Senior Andy Mikesell will man right field, while Schwieterman will fill in at centerfield, left vacant by last year’s Division III Player of the Year, Kyle Bruggeman. Utility man Rindler will fill in at spots in the grass depending on who is on the mound.
As far as the race for the MAC title is concerned, Dorner expects a banner season in the league.
“This may be one of the strongest seasons ever overall for the league,” Dorner said. “Perennial powers Coldwater and Parkway should once again battle for the league championship, but teams like Fort Recovery, New Bremen, Minster and St. Henry are all capable of knocking anyone off on any night. There really will be no weak link in the conference this year, and there is a strong possibility that several teams could make long tournament runs. Unfortunately many very good teams get knocked out early on by other MAC teams in the postseason.”