In The Arena: Fort Loramie seniors open eyes and minds, add another state title

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Fort Lormia made the regional finals in football, won a district title in basketball and claimed a state title in baseball.

A flag pole. New bleachers. A painting. Maybe a life-size statue of
the mascot. These are some things graduating classes get their high
school as a parting gift. The 2010 graduating class at Fort Loramie is
giving its institution something entirely different – diversity.


A flag pole. New bleachers. A painting. Maybe a life-size statue of
the mascot. These are some things graduating classes get their high
school as a parting gift. The 2010 graduating class at Fort Loramie is
giving its institution something entirely different – diversity.

For
as long as I’ve known Fort Loramie and visited family there, it’s
always been a basketball town.

I remember going to a basketball
game there in high school and watching neighboring rival Minster beat
the boys team. The Wildcat faithful chanted “We beat the basketball
gods!” as they exited the building, got in their cars and drove the two
miles home north on State Route 66.

Winning boys basketball state
titles in three consecutive decades cements a school with that
reputation and tag. And that’s what Fort Loramie did – and was.

Suddenly,
though, there are a couple additional attention getters trying to belly
up to those bar stools at Al’s Place and Scudzy’s.

On Saturday
at Huntington Park in downtown Columbus, Fort Loramie knocked out Newark
Catholic 3-0 to win its second Division IV baseball state championship
in the last four years. The Redskins, who set a school record for wins
in a season (30-3), also beat the Green Wave for the 2007 title and were
state semifinalists in 2008.

Baseball in Fort Loramie is on the
upswing. Has been for a while.

Football, however, is headed north
too.

This past season, the program’s fourth playing a varsity
football schedule, Fort Loramie made its first playoff appearance, won
its first playoff game and advanced all the way to the D-VI regional
finals before losing to Marion Local.

Basketball now has buddies.

Diversity.

“Basketball has always been real big, but now it’s
almost like all the sports are big,” senior Brad Frilling said. “It’s
an exciting time in Fort Loramie. All the sports are starting to catch
up to basketball. They’re getting closer.”

Echoed senior Mitch
Raterman: “I don’t know if they’re as popular yet. But they’re getting
there.”

With graduating classes around 40-50, Fort Loramie’s
football, basketball and baseball rosters have a lot of the same names.

Frilling is one you’ll find on all three.

The 6-2, 215 pound
linebacker was first team All-Ohio in football (headed to Wittenberg)
and played a pivotal role on the basketball team. He performed as the DH
in baseball.

Raterman is another who plays all three.

The
Redskins lead-off hitter in baseball (he had a fifth inning solo HR in
the state final), Raterman was the Metro Buckeye Conference Tri-Player
of the Year in football after rushing for 1,542 yards and 26 TDs.
Raterman holds numerous school records including career and
single-season rushing yards. He’s a three-year letterwinner in
basketball and is mulling an attempt to walk-on the Ohio State baseball
team.

“Almost everyone plays two sports and a lot of us play all
three,” Frilling said. “We have to play that many with the small amount
of athletes we’ve got.”

In regards to athletes, this collection
of seniors at Fort Loramie will be remembered as one of the school’s
best collections ever. Their resume says so.

In addition to
Frilling and Raterman, winning pitcher Justin Hoying put his stamp on
this class’s legacy by finishing his senior season 14-0 with a sub-0.70
ERA. He allowed one hit against NC. Hoying plays basketball too.

And
speaking of basketball, the Redskins, led by 6-6 University of Findlay
signee Mark Frilling, won another D-IV district title in March. Fort
Loramie lost to eventual state champion Dayton Jefferson by five in the
regional semis.

“We knew growing up that we always played well
together,” Raterman said. “We knew our senior year we’d make something
special happen.”

Said Frilling: “We have a great group of guys
who have been working real hard. We’re getting results.”

They’ve
also gotten football and baseball a place at the table.

“Growing
up in Fort Loramie basketball is always ingrained into your brain, but
we’ve always wanted football and now everyone is excited about that,”
Raterman said. “I think baseball has always been pretty popular too, but
I don’t think either are quite up there with basketball yet.

“This
is a nice crowd and a lot of Fort Loramie is here. But you make it to
state in basketball and the whole town comes. I mean everyone.”

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