Fostoria’s Kaleb Bemis (right) looks to the umpire for the call at second base on St. Wendelin’s Trent Whetsel (17) during a scrimmage Thursday night at Fostoria. Whetsel was safe on the play. (Kent Tarbox / for The Courier)
Kyle Reiser isn’t approaching Dick Kortokrax numbers. Not yet anyway.
But year after consistent year, Reiser has been steadily climbing that ladder and solidifying his coaching legacy.
Reiser, beginning his 26th season at Elmwood, opens the 2014 season as the dean of area baseball coaches. He’s also been one of the most successful.
Reiser guided Elmwood to the Division III state finals in 2007. Last season he earned his 500th career win. Elmwood’s 12-14 finish makes his overall record 505-203.
Reiser will be counting on six returning letter winners, four of them seniors, to keep the Royals tradition rolling as area teams prepare for their openers. The 2014 season is/was slated to get under way today, but Mother Nature and one of Ohio’s stubbornest winters in decades will keep many teams sidelined for a while.
Reiser is a rarity in a sport that has seen tremendous turnover in recent years. After Reiser, Leipsic’s Darren Henry (13) and Columbus Grove’s Cory King (11) are the only area baseball coaches with double-digit years of head coaching experience at their schools. Brady Mast is entering his tenth season as head coach at Hardin Northern.
The flip side is that, of 31 high schools in The Courier’s coverage area, 12 have head coaches in their first or second year. Eight area schools head into the 2014 season with a new coach at the helm.
Technically, Arlington has a new head coach in Tom Yates. Actually, Yates is returning to the bench after a three-year break from coaching. During his earlier stint at Arlington, he guided the Red Devils to one outright BVC title (2010), and three league co-championships (2006, 2008, 2009).
Leipsic went 8-1 in league play to claim last year’s BVC title, but Van Buren (7-2), Liberty-Benton (7-2), McComb (6-3) and Vanlue (6-3) were right in the hunt as well. The race for the 2014 crown could be just as down-to-the-wire balanced.
Graduation hit Leipsic and Liberty-Benton fairly hard, but both have key returning veterans to count on. Vanlue graduated just three players, Van Buren has five starters and seven lettermen back, and McComb returns 10 letter winners from a team that won the school’s first-ever district baseball title.
The Midland Athletic League is disbanding at the end of this school year. But if the battle for the 2014 baseball crown is anything like last year’s, it will be a memorable ending for the MAL.
North Baltimore has 10 lettermen back from last year’s squad that earned the MAL title with a 9-1 record. New Riegel, Hopewell-Loudon and Seneca East all finished 8-2 in the league and will be looking to claim that last league title for themselves.
Hopewell-Loudon, which has a history of winning MAL championships in even-numbered years (2012, 2010, 2008) has 21 juniors and seniors out this spring, New Riegel returns eight lettermen for first-year head coach Gregg Hughes, and Seneca East returns several players who gained valuable experience during last year’s run to the Division IV regional.
HEAD COACH: Jason Campbell (3rd year, 6-39).
2013 RECORD: 2-17 overall, 0-9 Northwest Conference.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Slade Downing, sr., 2B; Cory Kellum, sr., 3B/P; Alex Nicholson, sr., OF; Brady Pitney, sr., OF; Connor English, jr., 1B/P; Cort Everhart, jr., 3B; Steven Gray, jr., OF/P; Brayden Sautter, soph., SS.
TOP PROSPECTS: Josh Shoemaker, soph., C; Seth Evans, fr., P; Mason Klingler, fr., UT; Caleb Gorman, sr., OF.
NOTABLE: Eight players are back from last year as the Bulldogs look to improve on a 6-36 record over the past two years.
HEAD COACH: Dereck Uitto (6th year).
2013 RECORD: 1-21 overall, 0-9 Blanchard Valley Conference.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Sawyer Kieffer, sr., OF; Tyler Reamer, sr., P/IF; Bobby Vera, sr., C/IF; Myles Monday, sr., OF; Hayden Ramsey, jr., C; Dylan Conine, jr., P/IF; Tristan Love, soph., P/OF; Chad Baker, soph., P/1B/OF; Garrett Enders, soph., P/1B/OF.
TOP PROSPECTS: Landon Carnicom, soph., OF; A.J. Lentz, fr., IF; Alex Pessell, fr., P/IF; Zach Salazar, fr., P/IF; Austin Bohn, fr., OF; Ethan Boes, fr., 1B; Austin Jones, fr., OF; Dalton Abbell, fr., C; Thayne Clymer, sr., OF.
NOTABLE: Hayden Ramsey, .322 and 14 RBIs, and Dylan Conine, .250 and a 3.35 ERA, were honorable mention all-BVC a year ago and lead a class of nine returning letterwinners for the Redskins. The team will be looking to improve upon a 1-21 campaign last season and a plethora of pitching could be part of the answer.
HEAD COACH: Tom Yates (9th year, 144-36).
2013 RECORD: 15-9 overall, 5-4 Blanchard Valley Conference.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Tyler Richards, sr., P/3B; Jordan Freed, sr., P/CF; John Solt, jr., OF; Justin Rice, jr., C; Zachary Durliat, soph., 2B/P; Justin Rose, sr., OF/1B.
TOP PROSPECTS: Tyler Starr, sr., SS; Brian Reichley, sr., 3B; Robert Wise, sr., P; Michael Blunk, sr., 1B; Kyle McDowell, soph.,OF/UT; Christian Martin, soph., OF/UT; Nick Affholder, fr., OF/P; Nathan Insley, fr., 3B/P; Logan Speyer, fr., 1B; Nathan Russell, fr., C; Trevor Lotz, fr., P; Jesse Coleman, soph., 1B.
NOTABLE: Yates returns as head coach after a three-year hiatus. During his first stint as head coach, he guided the Red Devils to a 144-36 record, one outright BVC title (2010), and three league co-championships (2006, 2008, 2009). Freed (4-1, 3 saves, 2.92 ERA, 43 strikeouts) and Richards (3-4, 2.41 ERA, 52 strikeouts) will be key to the pitching staff. Both are three-year letter winners and were second second-team all-BVC selections last season. Solt (.427, 11 RBI) was a first-team all-BVC outfielder.
HEAD COACH: Sam Fruchey (4th year, 30-29).
2013 RECORD: 10-8 overall, 6-3 Northwest Conference.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Trent Phillips, sr., P/SS; Chris McClain, sr., P/1B; Drake Luginbuhl, sr., CF; Tyler Belcher, sr., C; Zak Kuhlman, sr., P/3B; Austin Bricker, jr., 2B; Bradon Skilliter, jr., LF; Brett Rumer, so., P/IF.
TOP PROSPECTS: Kyle Swank, soph., 3B; Jame Harrod, jr., OF.
NOTABLE: The Pirates return five senior letterwinners and eight overall, led by first team all-NWC performer Trent Phillips. Chris McClain and Drake Luginbuhl were second team all-NWC picks a year ago.
HEAD COACH: Joey Roark (6th year, 39-77).
2013 RECORD: 6-17 overall, 3-6 Midland Athletic League.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Matt Holsinger, sr., P/2B; Dylan Musgrave, sr., P/OF; Brandon Zechman, sr., CF; Satchel Strahm, jr., P/SS; Brady Mulholland, jr., C.
TOP PROSPECTS: Noah McCartney, jr., 2B; Steve Yonts, jr., P/1B; Nathaniel Griffin, soph., P/OF; Cody Ferguson, soph., P/UT; Marcus O’Flaherty, soph., P/3B; Jonathan Racheter, fr., P/1B.
NOTABLE: The Blue Devils were limited by early season injuries a year ago, but are healthy so far this season. Satchel Strahm (.368 BA, 5 wins) is at 100 percent this year battling through a torn labrum in his shoulder, and Matt Holsinger (.276, 29Ks) also is returning from knee surgery early in the year that affected him all of last season.
HEAD COACH: Cory King (12th year, 144-136).
2013 RECORD: 20-5 overall, 6-1 Putnam County League, 7-2 Northwest Conference.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Riley Brubaker, sr., C/P; Mason Smith, sr., 1B/OF; Joshua Verhoff, sr., P/IF; Elisha Jones, jr., P/C.
TOP PROSPECTS: Zach Brinkman, sr., OF; Tanner Neu, jr., OF/P; Zach Shafer, jr., 3B; Logan Diller, soph., 1B/P; Marcos Olivio, soph., SS; Ryan Verhoff, soph., P/IF; Reid Stechschulte, fr., OF/P.
NOTABLE: King and the Bulldogs have some work to do, especially on offense after losing their top seven hitters from last year’s PCL championship club to graduation. They’ll need to win with pitching and defense early on.
HEAD COACH: Terry Dockery, Jr. (4th year, 21-44 record).
2013 RECORD: 4-16 overall, 1-6 Putnam County League.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Terry Dockery, III, soph., P/CF; Gabe Williams, jr., IF/P; Ross Etter, jr., OF; Page Thomas, jr., 3B; Austin Mansfield, sr., C/RHP/IF; Vernon Prowant, sr., OF.
TOP PROSPECTS: Dallas Geckle, sr., P/IF/OF; Tyler Rue, sr., OF; Mason Thomas, soph.; Derek Troyer, jr.; Trent Vogt, fr.; Adam Lawhorn, sr.; Jacob Williams, fr.
NOTABLE: Dockery III hit .414 with six doubles and three triples last year as a freshman. He also broke two school single-season records: 25 stolen bases and 23 runs scored.
HEAD COACH: Nathan Swaney (1st year).
2013 RECORD: 5-14 overall, 2-7 Blanchard Valley Conference.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Logan Cawley, sr., 1B/P; Lance Butler, jr., C/P; Matthew Alspach, jr., IF/P.
TOP PROSPECTS: Brad Crawford, sr.; Devin Meyer, jr.; Spencer Silvers, jr.; Trevor Snyder, soph.; Jadyn Hall, soph.; Skyler Arnett, soph.; Joshua Miller, soph.; Garrett Kisseberth, fr.; Ethan Misamore, fr.; TJ Washer, fr.; Austin Miller, fr.; Brody Hickle, fr.; Robbie Marshall, fr.
NOTABLE: Swaney replaces Bob Businger as head coach who retired last spring after 25 years in charge of the C-R baseball program.
HEAD COACH: Kyle Reiser (26th year, 505-203).
2013 RECORD: 12-14 overall, 6-8 Northern Buckeye Conference.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Jacob Wise, sr., OF; Jacob Firsdon, sr., C; Michael Langlass, sr., P; Nolan Kerr, sr., P; Phillip Buckingham, soph., P; Dylan Hall, soph., IF.
TOP PROSPECTS: Trevor Solether, soph., P.
NOTABLE: The Royals have six returning letterwinners, and Wise earned 2nd-team NBC honors last season.
HEAD COACH: Eric Schwab (2nd year, 7-16).
2013 RECORD: 7-16 overall, 1-6 Putnam County League.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Dylan VanLoo, sr, P/OF; Alex Vetter, sr., IF; Ryan Rau, sr., IF/P; Jared Hoersten, sr., IF/OF/P; Josh Wittler, sr., C/IF/P; Bret Clay, sr., SS/P; Caleb Bankey, sr., OF; Connor Wallenhorst, jr., OF; Mark Metzger, jr., OF; Alex Sealts, soph., IF/P; Kyle Hellmen, soph., OF.
TOP PROSPECTS: Sam Vetter, fr., C; Ryan Hoersten, fr., OF; Connor Stechschulte, fr., IF; Austin Luebrecht, fr., IF/OF.
NOTABLE: The Musketeers have plenty of experience returning but not much depth with just 15 players on the team. Vetter could be the team’s top offensive player as he hit .424 and drove in 14 runs last season.
HEAD COACH: Dustin Smith (2nd year, 2-26).
2013 RECORD: 2-26 overall, 1-13 Northern Buckeye Conference.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Hunter Abell, sr., 1B; Alex Souders, sr., C; Alex Jackson, sr., DH/3B; Robby Crotty, jr., P/OF; Chris Hampton, jr., SS/2B; Kaleb Bemis, jr., IF/P; Noah Hammer, jr., 3B/P; Lance Smith, soph., P/OF; Dugan Smith, soph., P; Ricky Medina, sr., PR/OF.
TOP PROSPECTS: Trey Yates, fr., P; Kobey Bemis, soph., UT; Donovan Vogel, fr., OF; Sam Grine, soph., OF; Nolan Gilts, soph., P/OF; Elliot Hossler, soph., C.
NOTABLE: Smith has 29 players out for baseball at Fostoria and having a junior varsity program is beginning to pay dividends. Limiting mistakes and making opponents earn their runs will be one of the team’s keys to success this season. Abell is the top returnee for the Redmen after hitting .380 with six home runs and 23 RBIs.
Fostoria St. Wendelin
HEAD COACH: Nathan Viets (1st year).
2013 RECORD: 0-11 overall, 0-10 Midland Athletic League.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Brady Rutter, sr., C/OF; Brad Buhrow, sr., P/IF; Cole Williams, sr., UT; Dalton Murray, sr., UT/P; Trent Whetsel, sr., UT/P; Donovan Scudder, jr., P/OF.
TOP PROSPECTS: Zac Dixon, soph., OF/P; Luke Volkmer, fr., UT; Brody Whetsel, fr., OF; Cyle Smith, fr., P/OF; Justin Myers, fr., 1B/P; Devin Frankart, fr., UT/C/P.
NOTABLE: The Mohawks have a new coach and are back to playing a full slate of games after a year in which they only played the Midland Athletic League schedule and made an appearance in the sectional tournament.
HEAD COACH: Brady Mast (10th year, 30-160).
2013 RECORD: 2-20 overall, 1-8 Blanchard Valley Conferernce.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Jacob Gossard, sr., OF/P; Kyle Lamb, sr., SS; Bretty Roby, sr., 3B/2B; Camron Deckling, soph., C/3B; Riley Drumm, sr., OF/1B; Storm Drumm, soph., 2B; Collin Hoffman, soph., 1B/P.
TOP PROSPECTS: Colton Spearman, sr., OF/3B; Corey Thomson, soph.; Zach Wilhelm, fr.; Bradlee Watts, fr.
NOTABLE: Gossard struck out 68 batters and walked just 20 in 581/3 innings last year, pitched nine complete games and gives the Polar Bears a chance to win every time he starts. Lamb begins his third year as the starting shortstop.
HEAD COACH: Justin Gunka (1st year).
2013 RECORD: 12-13 overall, 8-2 Midland Athletic League.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Tyler Imes, jr., P/3B; Nick Scaife, so., P/SS; Jordan Stewart, sr., P/OF; Jarid Gelinas, sr., P/IF; Braden Park, jr., 2B/SS; Logan Tyree, so., P/IF; Ryan Depinet, sr., OF; Garret Sendelbach, jr., P/OF; Bryan Scherger, sr., P/C; Ryan Steinmetz, jr., P/1B.
TOP PROSPECTS: Adam Huffman, sr., OF; Colton Feather, sr., OF; Aric Creeger, sr., 2B; Weston Hill, sr., 1B; Daniel Arbogast, jr., OF; Bryce Steinhauser, jr., IF/P; Vollie Brock, jr., IF; Tyler Rohe, jr., OF; Chris Mora, jr., OF; Adam Bour, jr., IF; Sven Menzel, jr., OF; Matt Huth, jr., UT; Austin Tooker, soph., IF/P; Cody Brickner, soph., OF/P; Alex Brock, soph., OF/P; Jackson Sebetto, soph., UT/P; Sheldon Arndt, soph., OF; Alex Bour, fr., IF; Braeden Nickelson , fr., OF; Tristan Molatia, fr., OF/P; Andrew Scaife, fr., IF/P; Kyle Reinbolt, fr., C/P; Kevin Fruth, fr., OF; Noah Babcock, fr., IF.
NOTABLE: Depth will not be a problem as the Chieftains sport 35 players on this season’s roster, including 21 juniors and seniors. Seniors Bryan Scherger and Jordan Stewart, and juniors Tyler Imes and Garret Sendelbach will lead a squad that finished near the top of the MAL in 2013.
HEAD COACH: Joe Recker (1st year).
2013 RECORD: 7-16 overall, 2-5 Putnam County League.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Randy Zeller, sr., P/1B/3B; Andrew Krouse, sr., OF; Dylan Hoffman, sr., OF; Colton Farrell, jr., P/3B; Brent Hovest, jr., C; Austin Swift, soph., P/OF/1B; Brady Laudick, soph., P/OF/1B; Trent Gerding, soph., P/IF.
TOP PROSPECTS: Derrick Schimmoeller, jr.; Blaine Warnimont, jr., Brandon Erhart, soph.; Drew Hovest, soph.; Austin Klausing, soph.; Trevor Maag, soph.; Nathan Myers, soph.; Alex VonderEmbse, soph.
NOTABLE: The Wildcats lost six letterwinners from last year, but have eight returning for this season including two of its’ top pitchers and hitters. Recker said the team will need to get better defensively and have to develop a deeper rotation, though.
HEAD COACH: Darren Henry (14th year).
2013 RECORD: 15-10 ovverall, 8-1 Blanchard Valley Conference, 5-2 Putnam County League.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Dylan Schey, sr., IF/P; Neil Haselman, sr., OF/P; Logan Selhorst, sr., IF/P; Pierce Henry, jr., IF/OF/P.
TOP PROSPECTS: Alex Ellerbrock, jr., OF; JustiN Ellerbrock, soph., OF/IF/C; Gavin Cupp, soph., C/IF; Ross Schroeder, soph., IF; Tyler Selhorst, soph., OF/P.
NOTABLE: The Vikings are coming off another solid year but will be very young. They have a solid starter to build the pitching staff around as Schey is back after going 7-0 with a 2.37 ERA and earning first-team all-BVC honors.
HEAD COACH: Scott Arnold (1st year).
2013 RECORD: 22-4 overall, 7-2 Blanchard Valley Conference.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Jared Neiling, sr., P/SS; Anthony Webb, sr., CF; Alex Harter, jr., P/SS; Caleb Russell, jr., IF/P; Josh Ostrander, jr., OF.
TOP PROSPECTS: Parker Lease, jr., IF; John Dager, jr., IF; Mason Rose, soph., OF/IF; Jeff Gierke, soph., OF; Wyatt Young, fr., C; Tyler George, fr., 2B.
NOTABLE: Neiling and Harter each earned first-team all-BVC honors last season. Harter batted .389 and had a 2.98 ERA with 68 strikeouts, while Neiling hit .382 with a 1.18 ERA and 50 strikeouts.
HEAD COACH: Rob Quiroga (3rd year, 28-17)
2013 RECORD: 18-6 overall, 6-3 Blanchard Valley Conference.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Taylor Reardon, sr. 2B/OF/P; Blake Glaser, jr., 1B/OF; Logan Meares, sr., C/OF; Drew Bryan, soph., 2B; Mitch Schroeder, sr., SS/P; Andrew Adams, jr., P/IB/OF; Cody Franks, jr., 2B; Travis Clark, sr., P/3B; Clay Grubb, jr., P/OF; Dakota LaRue, soph., C/OF.
TOP PROSPECTS: Caden Schroeder, fr., 1B/OF/P; Malachi Abbott, fr., P; Dalton Auchmuty, sr., OF; Clay Dysert, sr., OF; Jordan Skilliter, jr., 2B.
NOTABLE: Three all-league players are among 10 returning lettermen for a McComb team that last season made the school’s first-ever appearance in the regional tournament. That group include four pitchers who combined for 13 of the Panthers 18 wins: Reardon (5-3, 4.06 ERA, 62 strikeouts), Grubb (4-1, 3.19 ERA, 45 Ks), Adams (3-1, 2.80 ERA, 20 Ks), and Schroeder (1-0, 4.40 ERA). Meares (.314, 13 RBI), Grubb (.301, 15 RBI), Glaser (.313), LaRue (10 RBI) and Clark (6 RBI) will be counted on to drive in runs. Schroeder (.375) and Grubb stole 19 bases each and Reardon (.310) swiped 11 for a McComb team with good speed on the basepaths.
HEAD COACH: Dusty Pester (6th year, 78-40).
2013 RECORD: 17-8 overall, 6-1 Putnam County League.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Jared Fuka, sr., 3B; Adam Drummelsmith, jr., P/IF; Adam Niese, jr., 1B; Ross Lehman, jr., P/IF; Hunter Berner, jr., C; Jackson Lammers, soph., P/IF; Logan Dukes, soph., OF.
TOP PROSPECTS: Jeremy Balbaugh, jr., OF; Tristan Niese, jr., OF; Jacob Schimmoeller, fr., OF/P.
NOTABLE: Lehman and Lammers each were first-team PCL last year and Dukes earned second-team honors. The Wildcats return three of its top four pitchers from last season in Lammers, Lehman and Drummelsmith.
HEAD COACH: Eric Hoover (8th year, 103-64).
2013 RECORD: 7-19 overall, 1-9 Midland Athletic League.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Devon Fredritz, sr., 1B/3B; Grant Gucker, sr., C; Eric Maskey, sr., OF; Austin Shock, soph., P/SS; Derrick Sowers, soph., OF.
TOP PROSPECTS: Jacob Jeffrey, sr, P/IF/OF; Matt Miller, sr., OF; Logan Hartsel, sr., OF; Jacob McMillion, sr., OF; Jerad Raypole, sr., P/OF; Chris Creeger, jr., IF; Austin Harper, fr., IF; Dominic Smith, soph., IF; Luke Gillig, soph., IF.
NOTABLE: Grant Gucker returns after earning second team all-MAL and honorable mention District 9 honors in 2013 when he batted .329 and had 18 RBIs. Devon Fredritz hit .300 with 22 RBIs and was an honorable mention all-MAL choice.
HEAD COACH: Gregg Hughes (1st year).
2013 RECORD: 14-10 overall, 8-2 Midland Athletic League.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Jake Dryfuse, sr., IF/OF/P; Aaron Reinhart, sr., 1B/OF; Fred Clark, sr., IF/P; Blaine Hughes, jr., SS/P; Aaron Acree, jr., C/OF/P; Jared Coleman, jr., IF/OF; Austin Mathias, soph., IF/P; John Zoeller, soph., C.
TOP PROSPECTS: Floyd Bouillon, sr., 2B/OF; Tyler Halcomb, soph., 3B/2B; Alex Theis, fr., P/OF; Michael Kirian, fr., P/1B; Brian Hughes, fr., IF/OF; Shane Halcomb, fr., IF/P; Brandon Arbogast, fr., IF; Lucas Williams, fr., OF.
NOTABLE: The Blue Jackets have eight returning letterwinners, including Blaine Hughes, who was all-MAL honorable mention last season. Jake Dryfuse, who missed part of last season due to an injury, will be a big part of New Riegel’s team in the infield and on the mound.
HEAD COACH: Marty Gazarek (4th year, 45-35).
2013 RECORD: 17-10 overall, 9-1 Midland Athletic League.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Zach Stewart, sr., P/2B/3B; Jacob Frost, sr., P/1B; Chase Nichols, sr., C; Sean Watson, so., P/2B; Garrett Boyer, sr., DH; Brock Boyer, jr., P/SS; Brody Naugle, soph., P; Andrew Hollinger, so., P/OF; Levi Newcomer, jr., P/OF; Tyler Trumbull, sr., 3B/DH.
TOP PROSPECTS: Dominic Laware, jr., DH; Noah Brian, fr., P/CF; Zach Meggitt, soph., RF/DH.
NOTABLE: The Tigers return 10 letterwinners from last year’s MAL championship squad, including second-team all-MAL picks Zach Stewart and Jacob Frost, and honorable mention selections Chase Nichols and Sean Watson. Stewart hit .350 with 28 RBIs and Frost batted .333 with 26 RBIs, while posting a 3.95 ERA.
HEAD COACH: Nick Miller (8th year, 103-60).
2013 RECORD: 16-5 overall, 5-4 Western Buckeye League.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Tyler Zender, sr., OF; Tanner Schimmoeller, sr., P/1B; Drew Schierloh, sr., P/OF; Matt Warnecke, sr., P/3B; Andrew Wischmeyer, sr., OF/1B; Brad Croy, jr., P/IF; Ben Dietering, jr., P/C.
TOP PROSPECTS: Ryan Maas, jr., P/OF; Chandler Kersh, jr., P/OF; Brent Ellerbrock, jr., IF; Nick Schroeder, jr., IF; Austin Williams, soph.; Austin Verhoff, soph.
NOTABLE: The Titans return seven letterwinners, including Zender, who was first-team all-WBL and honorable mention all-Ohio. Schimmoeller was 4-0 with a 1.36 ERA last season, Schierloh hit four homers, and Warnecke was 6-2 with a 2.44 ERA.
HEAD COACH: Ty Wannemacher (1st year).
2013 RECORD: 9-10 overall, 4-3 Putnam County League.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Alex Horstman, sr., P/IF/OF; Luke Schimmoeller, sr., P/C/IF; Cory Honigford, sr., OF; Joe Vanoss, jr., C; Brandon Boecker, jr., P/OF; Joel Beining, jr., P/IF; Jared Fanning, so., P/IF.
TOP PROSPECTS: Bailey Seibert, so, IF; Brendon Schnipke, so., IF; Alex Krouskop, fr., P/IF; Brad Boecker, fr., P/IF.
NOTABLE: The Big Green graduated two of its top three pitchers from last season in Bryan Hohlbein and Derek Schimmoeller, but pitching will continue to be a strength of the team, according to Wannemacher. Cutting down on unearned runs is a goal that Wannemacher believes will translate into more victories this season as well.
HEAD COACH: Matt Dube (5th year, 23-42).
2013 RECORD: 9-14 overall, 3-4 Putnam County League, 3-6 Blanchard Valley Conference.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Reed Hovest, sr., C; Brian Schneck, sr., P/SS; Dustin Rieman, Sr., 2B; Alex Osborn, sr., CF; Shane Wilson, sr., 1B/3B; Braxton Freeman, sr., OF; Seth Schmenk, sr., 1B/3B/P; Jacob Basinger, jr., SS/P; Jared Tousley, sr., OF; T.J. Koepplinger, soph., 3B/C.
TOP PROSPECTS: Gunner Stall, fr., IF/C/P; Zach George, jr., OF; Jason Walther, fr.
NOTABLE: The Rockets have an experienced team with 10 returning letterwinners (eight of them seniors). Hovest earned first-team all-BVC and all-PCL honors by batting .500 with a home run, 13 RBIs and 24 stolen bases. Jacob Basinger was second-team all-PCL and hit.436 with 12 RBIs.
HEAD COACH: Shawn Sunderman (6th year, 93-40).
2013 RECORD: 18-8 overall, 5-3 Northwest Ohio Athletic League.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Kollin Spence, sr. IF; Derek Hoops, sr., SS; Josh Petersen, sr., C/P; Logan Ziegler, sr., P/OF; Brad Breece, sr., OF; Lucas Brown, jr., OF; Derek Kolpien, jr., OF/P; Kyler Seemann, jr., 3B/C/P; Joe Nickels, soph., 2B.
TOP PROSPECTS: Neil Storch, jr., OF.
NOTABLE: The Patriots return their four top pitchers, including Petersen (4-2, 3.48 ERA), Ziegler (5-1, 1.44 ERA) and Seemann (4-2, 3.97 ERA). At the plate, Hoops hit .495 last year with 27 RBIs, Spence batted .341 with 21 RBIs, and Seeman .306 with 22 RBIs.
HEAD COACH: Brett Bostelman (1st year).
2013 RECORD: 6-15 overall, 3-9 North Central Conference.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Paul Frey, sr., P/1B; Tyler Miller, sr., P/IF; Grant Loveridge, jr., P/C/OF; Luke Bowman, jr., C/3B.
TOP PROSPECTS: Seth Knoll, sr., P; Evan Hayes, jr., 3B/OF; Trey Miller, fr., IF/P; Tristan Davis, fr., OF/P; Evan McKee, fr., 1B/OF/P.
NOTABLE: Riverdale has four returning letterwinners, and Bostelman will rely on them to lead a young team in his first year as head coach. The freshmen will help out at the varsity level right away, according to Bostelman.
HEAD COACH: Keith Miller (4th year, 32-35).
2013 RECORD: 12-10 overall, 7-6 North Central Conference.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Cameron Binau, sr., P/3B; Trey Clark, sr., 1B; Ross Dible, sr., C; Dermot Garza, sr., OF; Kolin Johnson, sr., 2B; Alex Kenner, sr., OF; Andre Meyers, sr., OF; Sam Plott, sr., P/SS; Cody Gabriel, soph., P/1B.
TOP PROSPECTS: Carson Mittermaier, soph., P/3B; Tylor Pritchard, sr., OF.
NOTABLE: Upper Sandusky has plenty of experience with nine returning letterwinners (eight of them seniors). Dible earned Honorable Mention North Central Conference honors last season, batting .333 for the Rams.
HEAD COACH: Brooks Lance (2nd year, 18-11).
2013 RECORD: 18-11 overall, 7-2 Blanchard Valley Conference.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Corey Spoon, sr., P/OF; Ross Adolph, jr., P/OF; Jameson Jacobs, jr., P/2B/SS; Isaac Sexton, jr., P/1B/3B; Chance Sonnenberg, jr., C/DH; Drew Conner, jr., C/OF; Schyuler Turner, jr., P/OF.
TOP PROSPECTS: Payten Whitticar, soph., IF; Jimmy Irving, sr., IF.
NOTABLE: The Black Knights return five starters and seven letterwinners from a team that finished second in the BVC last season. Team speed and the ability to put the ball in play on offense will be strengths. Jameson Jacobs returns as the top pitcher after posting a 6-2 record with 51 strikeouts and a 1.52 ERA in 502/3 innings in 2013.
HEAD COACH: Bill Summers (2nd year, 13-7).
2013 RECORD: 13-7 overall, 6-3 Blanchard Valley Conference.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Nick Hagerty, sr., SS/P; Jacob Coldren, sr., 1B/P; Dominic Crafts, sr., 3B/P; Jason Summers, jr., C/IF; Austin Smith, jr., SS/OF; Sam Wagner, jr., P/OF.
TOP PROSPECTS: Tim Reed, sr., OF/C; Troy Ritter, sr., OF; Devin Hendricks, sr., OF; Austin Hord, jr, OF; Tyler Wingate, jr., OF/1B; Cole Keeney, soph., OF/2B.
NOTABLE: The Wildcats lost just three players with significant experience from last year’s team, but those three, Zach Garber (.385) Dylan Watson (.340) and Josh Clymer (.338) were among the team’s top four hitters. Senior Nick Hagerty, however, is back after batting .400 a season ago.