The Ohio High School Baseball Season officially starts this weekend (Saturday, March 29). Here’s who we see opening as the state’s top teams in each division.
Division IV Preseason Poll
No. 6 Racine Southern
John Combs and the Racine Southern Tornadoes have high expectations after finishing 2013 with a 24-6 record. The Tornadoes fell to the eventual state champions Newark Catholic 12-2 in the regional semifinals.
The Tornadoes return six starters from last season, led by their seniors. Southern has five seniors in the projected starting lineup, Hunter Johnson (C/RHP, .368 BA, 43 runs scored, 8 doubles, 14 SB, 0.70 ERA, 21 Ks, 20 innings), Trent Deem (2B, .369 BA, 25 runs scores, 7 doubles, 11 SB), Colten Walters (SS/RHP, .308 BA, 32 RBIs, 6 SB, 24 Ks, 21.1 innings), Brandon Moodispaugh (3B, .264 BA, 6 SB), Zac Beegle (OF, 7 SB). Casey Pickens (first baseman) also looks to improve in his senior season.
The Tornadoes have a mix of underclassmen that look to provide a spark. Juniors Paul Ramthun (INF/OF), Jack Lemley (INF), sophomore Tom Ramthun (OF) and freshmen Blake Johnson (INF) and Trey Pickens (UTIL) all look to help the Tornadoes sit atop the Tri-Valley Conference and make a long tournament run.
No. 7 North Lewisburg Triad
Will Nichols and North Lewisburg Triad look to reload after a 25-6 record in 2013. The Cardinals fell in the D-III district finals to Hamilton Badin 9-7. Triad returns just three starters from last season, but is led by University of Cincinnati commit Douglas Lowe II (6-2, 175-pound, LHP, 8-0, .072 ERA, 71 Ks in 48 innings, pictured right).
Accompanying Lowe will be senior Tre McIntyre (6-1, 180-pound, C, .313 BA, 30 RBIs, Ohio Dominican football commit, pictured right) and sophomore Trent McIntyre (6-0, 180-pound, SS/RHP, .340 BA, 26 RBIs, ranked number 5 in the 2016 class).
Along with the three listed above, the Cardinals have a mix of seniors and sophomores. The seniors are Steven Feasal (6-2, 185-pound, third baseman), Jeremy Steiner (6-0, 160-pound, OF), Evan Jones (5-11, 165-pound, OF) while the sophomores are Daulton Holycross (5-9, 160-pound, UTIL) and Timmy Marsalis (6-0, 165-pound OF).
No. 8 Attica Seneca East
Seneca East is coming off an impressive 23-5 season in 2013. The Tigers fell to New Middletown Springfield 6-0 in the regional semifinals.
In 2014, the Tigers have very high expectations with the one-two punch they have on the mound. Left-handed pitcher Mason McWilliams (5-10, 175-pound, pictured right) is one of the best pitchers in the state of Ohio, let alone division IV. The Ohio University commit sits mid-to-upper-80s with the fastball. The nasty lefty also has a curve, slider and change that are all plus pitches.
Ethan Caudill (6-0, 180-pound, RHP/SS, pictured left) is the other part of the one-two punch. The unsigned senior sits low-to-mid 80s with the fastball.
No. 9 Toronto
Toronto and head coach Brian Perkins have high expectations for the 2014 season after a 20-7 record in 2013. The Red Knights fell in the district finals to Tuscarawas Central Catholic 4-1, but return seven starters from last years team. Coach Perkins has an impressive 191-56 record at Toronto.
The Red Knights are led by talented sophomore shortstop Blaze Glenn (pictured right). Seniors Jarin McIntosh (RHP/3B), Chez Glenn (OF), Bill Solomon (C) and Tyler Antinone (INF) look to provide leadership while junior Nate Stewart (P/INF) and sophomores Hank Clegg (pitcher) and Riley Keirsey look to take the next step in 2014.
No. 10 Berlin Hiland
Berlin Hiland looks to 19-7 Hiland fell to Toronto 2-0 in the district semifinals. The Hawks and head coach Tom Gibson, who is entering his 7th season with a 135-34 record, have high expectations and look to return to state for the fourth time since 2000.
The Hawks look for leadership from senior Jordan Yoder as well as juniors Justin Wagler (6-2, 185-pound, 3B/C, pictured left) and Kendal Borntrager.