2018 OHSAA Tournament Regional Preview: Division I


Dylan Hefflinger
PBR Ohio Editor In Chief/Scout

Follow @PBR Ohio

Ohio Spring baseball always seems to fly by and in 2018 that is most definitely evident with the fact we are in Regionals Week. That means the 16 best teams in each division will battle it out to see who is deserving of a trip to beautiful Huntington Park in Columbus.

Below we have the 16-Team Preview for Division I.

To view the Other Regional Previews, click below:
+ Division I
+ Division II
+ Division III
+ Division IV

To view the Final Team Rankings, click below:
+ Division I
+ Division II
+ Division III
+ Division IV

To view the 2018 Preseason All-State Selections, click below:
+ Division I
+ Division II
+ Division III
+ Division IV

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To view all things related to the 2018 Spring High School Baseball Season, including the Scout Blog, Team Power Rankings, Preseason All-State Teams and more, click here.

2018 OHSAA Tournament Regional Preview: Division I

Team Rankings based on the Final Team Rankings 

Division Overview: With five of the top 10 teams in the state and eight of the top 17, regional competition should be strong. If the "favorites" survive, the Final Four could include the number one, four, five and six teams in the last Power Rankings. Unfortunately, the two highest-ranked teams remaining, Mason and Moeller, are in the same region. And finally, last year's state finalists - Massillon Jackson and Strongsville - are still alive and could meet in the state championship again with three more wins each, but would have to get past some tough opponents in the likes of Solon, Amherst Steele and possibly one of the hottest teams in the state right now, Mentor .

Division I, Region 1 - Canton

Region Overview: While the defending state champions Massillon Jackson are the highest-ranked team in the field, Solon defeated Jackson 4-3 back in April and also owns a pair of victories over Mentor. Medina Highland and Mentor are two of the hottest clubs in the state right now, making it a fun region to watch.

For Fun Prediction: The road back to Huntington Park to defend their state championship will be difficult for Massillon Jackson, having to beat Solon and either one of two hot teams in Mentor or Medina Highland. That said, I'm sticking with the Polar Bears over Mentor.

Dylan Hefflinger:

  • Massillon Jackson over Solon
  • Mentor over Medina Highland
    • REGIONAL CHAMP - Massillon Jackson

Fan Vote:

  • Massillon Jackson over Solon
  • Mentor over Medina Highland
    • REGIONAL CHAMP - Massillon Jackson

Solon

Record: 17-5
Final Ranking: No. 11
Preseason Ranking: No. 12
Highest Ranking: No. 7 - Week 2
Postseason History:

  • State Final Four 7x (1929, 1930, 1955, 1972, 1983, 1991, 2016) 
  • State Runner Up 1x (1972)

Team Stats:

  • .298 AVG, 167 Runs
  • 2.89 ERA, 136 K

Top Players:

Coach's Thoughts:

PBR: What are a couple of things you like about your team right now?
Coach: We have been getting contributions from one through nine in our lineup. No one player is dominating the headlines. At various times throughout the season, different players got the chance to play the hero. Now, as we play in the tournament, no one is trying to do too much. They all realize that if they just do their job as an individual and play their role, then we are stronger as a team. 

PBR: Talk about the feeling when your team won districts?
Coach: Obviously there are a ton of great teams in Northeast Ohio, but I truly believe that the Hudson District is one of the toughest in this area. To be the team that advances to Regionals from Hudson gives us a sense of pride and accomplishment. When that final out was recorded, my first thought was how proud I was of the players. They played so hard and so well, and they earned the right to call themselves District Champions. 

PBR: Thoughts about being able to play in the regionals?
Coach: It means we made it one step closer to achieving a goal we set for ourselves this season – winning a state title. It is so enjoyable to see the excitement that builds in the school environment and in the community when we reach the “Sweet 16”. Hopefully, the players and coaches enjoy the experience as well. Even though we achieved this milestone this season, there is no guarantee that we will be back next year or in the years to come. We want to approach this opportunity with the respect it deserves

PBR: Thoughts on the four-team field at the regional?
Coach: The Canton Regional boasts a tremendous field. The teams that advanced are well-coached, talented, and experienced. Jackson has been a powerhouse for many years now and plays the game the right way. They are not going to beat themselves. It will take a monumental team effort to beat the defending state champions. We know Mentor from our conference and they will battle to the very end. They have been on quite a roll over the last month and would be a dangerous opponent. And Highland has had an outstanding season and beat some top-notch opponents in the Barberton District to advance. They are athletic and know how to win. The state qualifier from Canton is going to have to earn it for sure. 

PBR: Anything else you would like to add, feel free to send it. Remember, this is for your players, your coaching staff and your community.
Coach: I would like to thank the Solon students, faculty, staff and community for the overwhelming support this season. We hope to make you proud and continue our run with four more wins!  We would love to see all of the Comet faithful in Canton to help guide us to victory.

Massillon Jackson

Record: 24-5
Final Ranking: No. 5
Preseason Ranking: No. 2
Highest Ranking: No. 2 - Preseason
Postseason History:  

  • 5 straight District titles 2014-18
  • 5 straight outright Federal League champs 2014-18
  • State titles in 2014 and 2017 

Team Stats:

  • .328 AVG, 184 Runs
  • 2.14 ERA, 196 K

Top Players:

 Coach's Thoughts:

PBR: What are a couple of things you like about your team right now?
Coach: This team has grown from game one to game 29 and is really starting to trust each other and play FOR each other. That’s something you cannot measure with stats…and we will need that type of energy and passion as enter the Regionals.

PBR: Talk about the feeling when your team won districts?
Coach: We had one of the most challenging schedules this program has ever played and combine that with a very tough district to get through… There are a lot of top-end arms and players (2019 and 2020) in Stark County. Our guys really had to work for every run we got and pitch and play consistent defense for seven innings each game. Every team is so well coached we know each other so well that we had to execute our plan each and every inning to give ourselves a chance to win.

PBR: Thoughts about being able to play in the regionals?
Coach: It’s very humbling to be able to play five consecutive years in the Regionals and represent the Canton District. Baseball is such a humbling sport, we understand how hard it is to win each game and move on….

PBR: Thoughts on the four-team field at the regional?
Coach: This is a very athletic and deep regional. Solon, Mentor and Highland all bring very experienced teams who have a lot of talent and programs that pride themselves with a rich baseball tradition.

  

Medina Highland

Record: 17-9
Final Ranking: No. 43
Preseason Ranking: No. 48
Highest Ranking: No. 43 - Final
Postseason History: Attempting to reach state for first time in school history. 4th district title, 2nd in division I

Team Stats:

  • .319 AVG, 140 Runs
  • 3.61 ERA, 158 K

Top Players:

Coach's Thoughts:

PBR: What are a couple of things you like about your team right now?
Coach: After a tough 1-5 start to our season, we are very impressed with the way our team has kept pushing to get better.  We are playing clean baseball right now.  Over the last month, our guys have executed the little things and we have seen how it can turn into success.  Our starting pitching has been outstanding through our run in the state tournament.

PBR: Talk about the feeling when your team won districts?
Coach: Winning a District title is a big accomplishment.  Watching the joy on our guys faces after the last out was recorded is something I will never forget. That being said, we have a group of kids that are hungry for more.

PBR: Thoughts about being able to play in the regionals?
Coach: This will be our second trip to regionals in the past 3 seasons.  It’s tough to describe but the atmosphere in High School playoff baseball is second to none.  It’s an experience our guys will remember forever.

PBR: Thoughts on the four-team field at the regional?
Coach: This is as tough of a region as there is in the state.  Mentor, Jackson, and Solon have excellent programs with loads of talent and experience.  It should be a great week of baseball.

PBR: Anything else you would like to add, feel free to send it. Remember, this is for your players, your coaching staff and your community.
Coach: Our catcher Sam Zeleznik was selected to play in the Mizuno All-Ohio Series in June.  He has been key to our success both offensively and defensively.

Mentor

Record: 16-7
Final Ranking: No. 17
Preseason Ranking: No. 39
Highest Ranking: No. 17 - Final
Postseason History:

  • 20 x Conference Champions
  • 12 x District Champions (Back to Back 2017 & 2018)
  • 5 x State Qualifier
  • 2007 State Runner up

Top Players:

  • Andrew Witte, 3B, Soph (.250 avg 12 runs, 6 rbi, .352 obp, 5 sb)
  • Michael Megery, C, Senior (.262 avg , 10 rbi , .423 opb, 7 sb)
  • Alex Edwards, LF, Junior (.206 avg, 6 rbi, 7 runs, 4 sb)
  • Matt Sabin, 1B, Junior (.343 avg, 16 rbi, 3 2b, 11 runs, 12 sb .397 opb)
  • Justin Wilson, DH, Junior (.278 avg 8, rbi .381 obp, 5 sb)
  • Riley Grieco, SS, Senior (.435 avg, 27 rbi, 10 2b, 1 3b, 1 hr, 14 runs, .494 obp, 6 sb)
  • Timmy Eppich, RF, Junior (.323 avg, 9 runs , 7 rbi, .500 obp, 9 sb)
  • Matt Adkins, 2B, Senior (.161 avg, 12 runs 6 rbi)
  • Will LaGanke, CF Senior (.414 avg, 27 runs, 9 rbi, 4 2b, 3 3b, .609 obp, 22 sb)
  • Squire Chapman, RHP, Senior (3-3) 3.29 era
  • Charlie Hawley, RHP, Soph, (4-1) 1.03 era
  • Dan Zelina, RHP, Senior, Closer (2-0) (8/8 Saves) 1.31 era

Coach's Thoughts:

PBR: What are a couple of things you like about your team right now?
Coach: What I like about our team is that we are playing good team baseball. We are throwing strikes and playing good defense. It seems like a different guy steps up each game to get the job done.

PBR: Talk about the feeling when your team won districts?
Coach: Our guys were extremely happy, and excited to continue their season. For the seniors this is back-to-back District Championships so they are excited to get another crack at playing in the regionals.  

PBR: Thoughts about being able to play in the regionals?
Coach: We are excited and looking forward to playing with an opportunity to get to state.

PBR: Thoughts on the four-team field at the regional?
Coach: Extremely tough group of teams. Solon is in our conference and they are talented, Highland plays in a good conference and is a fundamentally-solid well-coached team, and Jackson is the defending State Champs, so I would say that this is a very difficult regional to advance through.

Division I, Region 2 - Dublin

Region Overview: Liberty owns three wins over its Olentangy rival from Lewis Center and will be a tough out. But New Albany comes in with momentum off one-run regional wins over Big Walnut and Pickerington Central. The biggest surprise could be Lancaster, coming in after beating Upper Arlington in the district finals and should prove to be a tough opponent as well in this region.

For Fun Prediction: The Columbus area is always hard to predict, but I am going to have to agree with the fans here and take both Olentangy clubs over Lancaster and New Albany, respectively. Liberty has been playing well all year, and I think it's their time to get to state for the first time in school history.

Dylan Hefflinger:

  • Olentangy Liberty over Lancaster
  • Olentangy over New Albany
    • REGIONAL CHAMP - Olentangy Liberty

Fan Vote:

  • Olentangy Liberty over Lancaster
  • Olentangy over New Albany
    • REGIONAL CHAMP - Olentangy Liberty

Olentangy Liberty

Record: 26-4
Final Ranking: No. 6
Preseason Ranking: No. 13
Highest Ranking: No. 6 - Week 4
Postseason History: Looking to advance to state for first time 

Top Players:

Coach's Thoughts:

PBR: What are a couple of things you like about your team right now?
Coach: We're pretty balanced. We're doing the little things well in all phases - offense, defense and base running. We've been consistent and it's a fun team to be around.

PBR: Talk about the feeling when your team won districts?
Coach: It's a milestone you circle on your calendar. Playing good competition like Marysville is a good way of measuring up with the best of the best. We're excited and humbled at the same time.

PBR: Thoughts about being able to play in the regionals?
Coach: More baseball in May, if you're a high school kid it's the best time of the year to play. You're at great venues with great weather and you get to spend another week together to play high school baseball. We're super excited.

PBR: Thoughts on the four-team field at the regional?
Coach: There are some really good teams like Olentangy from our league. One through nine they're as good as anyone around. All three programs do a great job of preparing their kids, it will just come down to executing and playing a complete game for seven innings. New Albany has great arms and Lancaster is well balanced and played a good schedule. Any of the four can feel good about themselves and no matter what happens Central Ohio will be well represented.

PBR: Anything else you would like to add, feel free to send it. Remember, this is for your players, your coaching staff and your community.
Coach: We have 12 seniors and two senior managers, so we have 14 seniors in our dugout at some point in time. It's a special group that I would take anywhere in the community and they would represent our school well. 


Lancaster

Record: 20-9
Final Ranking: No. 36
Preseason Ranking: Not rated
Highest Ranking: No. 36 - Final
Postseason History: 1st District Title in 25 years, 1st share of a OCC-Ohio league title in School history (joined OCC in 1997)   

Top Players:

  • Evan Sines, 3B, Soph (.372, 29 runs)
  • Brandon Barnette, C, Senior (.307, 4 year starter behind the plate)
  • Casey Finck, RF, Soph (OCC-Ohio Co POY, .451, 23 runs, 36 RBIs | 3-1, 2.62 ERA)
  • Jaden Jones, 3B, Senior (.315, 15 RBIs | 3.09 ERA)
  • Avery Baker, DH, Senior (.344, 15 RBIs)
  • Jake Richards, LF, Junior (.321, 17 RBIs)
  • Tyler Monk, SS, Junior (1 HR, 11 RBIs)
  • Jesse Seymour, 1B, Senior (1 HR, 10 RBIs)
  • Max Hamilton, CF, Soph (.342)
  • A.J. Cook, OF, Junior, (.300)
  • Garrett Davis, RHP, Junior (5-1) 2.22 ERA
  • Alex Wilfing, RHP, Senior (6-3) 1 save, 2.36 ERA
  • Anthony Selhorst, LHP, Senior, Closer,  (4-1), 2 saves, 1.89 ERA
  • Spencer Knight, RHP, Junior, 2-1, 2.33 ERA

Coach's Thoughts:

PBR: What are a couple of things you like about your team right now?
Coach: Playing with belief, focus & energy, and we have great team chemistry. Not Done

PBR: Talk about the feeling when your team won districts?
Coach: Nothing like it. 1st time in 25 years we were able to do it. Unbelievably proud of this group but we know there’s more.

PBR: Thoughts about being able to play in the regionals?
Coach: Gracious we are able to continue to play baseball together. 

PBR: Thoughts on the four-team field at the regional?
Coach: There are some really good teams in the regional. It is going to be fun to compete against these teams and coaches.

OlentaNgy

Record: 21-9
Final Ranking: No. 33
Preseason Ranking: No. 18
Highest Ranking: No. 18 - Preseason
Postseason History: Only time to win regional title came in 2006. 2016 and 2018 District Champs

Top Players:

PBR: What are a couple of things you like about your team right now?
Coach: We are finally healthy for the most part and playing good baseball.

PBR: Talk about the feeling when your team won districts?
Coach: Anytime you have the opportunity to win a championship with a group of guys you share a bond with is special. Extremely proud and excited for our guys!

PBR: Thoughts about being able to play in the regionals?
Coach: At the beginning of each year, this is what we talk about and where we want to be. Everyone has a shot and it’s all about playing two great games at this point to move on.

PBR: Thoughts on the four-team field at the regional?
Coach: All great teams and well coached. Olentangy Liberty has the best record, best team and head coach so they should win it all, but it’s all about who plays two good baseball games to advance.

PBR: Anything else you would like to add, feel free to send it. Remember, this is for your players, your coaching staff and your community.
Coach: I love our program and all the people in it. We have tremendous people with high character that represent the Braves well. Proud to be part of that!


New Albany

Record: 19-9
Final Ranking: No. 42
Preseason Ranking: Not Rated
Highest Ranking: No. 33 - Week 3
Postseason History:

  • 2004, 2010, 2018 District Champions
  • 2004 Regional Champion
  • 2004 Division III State Champion
  • Head Coach Dave Starling 451-307

Team Stats:

  • .336 AVG, 205 runs
  • 2.69 ERA, 153 K

Top Players:

Coach's Thoughts:

PBR: What are a couple of things you like about your team right now?
Coach: We really like the poise and competitiveness of our team right now.

PBR: Talk about the feeling when your team won districts?
Coach: We were proud and excited for the players, parents, school and community.

PBR: Thoughts about being able to play in the regionals?
Coach: The players are convinced that they can continue to win. The attitude of the team is that they expect to win. 

PBR: Thoughts on the four-team field at the regional?
Coach: Excellent baseball teams that are extremely well-coached. This is the best region in the state.

Division I, Region 3 - Bowling Green/Parma 

Region Overview: Amherst Steele and Anthony Wayne were number one seeds in districts while Strongsville and Toledo St. John's knocked off top-seeded teams for district titles. Pitching should be at a premium as evident by this - St. John's has given up five runs in three tourney games, AW three, Strongsville two and Steele one. The teams have combined for six tournament shutouts. 

For Fun Prediction: Talk about another hard region to predict ... First off you have the state runner-up in Strongsville, which has had some consistency issues this season, going up against one of the top arms in the state, but boasts a top arm of their own in Brosky. Tough call there but going with the lefty (Shawver) and Amherst Steele. In NW Ohio, Anthony Wayne has an ace of their own and I will take Wright State commit Nartker to carry the Generals to the regional finals over a good St. John's Jesuit team.

Dylan Hefflinger:

  • Anthony Wayne over Toledo St. John's Jesuit
  • Amherst Steele over Strongsville
    • REGIONAL CHAMP - Amherst Steele

Fan Vote:

  • Anthony Wayne over Toledo St. John's Jesuit
  • Strongsville over Amherst Steele
    • REGIONAL CHAMP - Strongsville

Anthony Wayne

Record: 23-4
Final Ranking: No. 12
Preseason Ranking: No. 20
Highest Ranking: No. 12 - Week 5
Postseason History: Generals looking to claim first regional crown in school history 

Top Players:

Coach's Thoughts:

PBR: What are a couple of things you like about your team right now?
Coach: I like the attitude, effort, culture, intensity and the approach of the team.

Toledo St. John's Jesuit

Record: 18-7
Final Ranking: No. 26
Preseason Ranking: No. 23
Highest Ranking: No. 14 - Week 2
Postseason History: Trip to state has never happened for St. John's

Team Stats:

  • .307 AVG, 154 Runs
  • 2.72 ERA, 193 K

Top Players:

Coach's Thoughts:

PBR: What are a couple of things you like about your team right now?
Coach: We like what our team is doing in the field and on the mound. We have been hitting the ball better and waiting for a breakout game at the plate. We are playing well together.

PBR: Talk about the feeling when your team won districts?
Coach: Winning the district title is huge for our program in my first year as head coach. The players and parents have bought into what we are doing and it is nice to see the players understanding that working hard leads to success. It's nice to see players and parents alike so happy and so proud of the success we've had so far.

PBR: Thoughts about being able to play in the regionals?
Coach: Coaching and playing in regionals is not new to our coaching staff. Myself and two of the assistants have coached in the regionals before. Two of us were together back in 2004 and one coach was a player on that 2004 team, and another coach was in the program. My head assistant coach took another high school to regionals as well. For the players and parents, it great to see their enthusiasm with having a chance to play for a regional title.

PBR: Thoughts on the four-team field at the regional?
Coach: Anytime you get this deep in the playoffs you are seeing the best of the best. All four teams are deserving of being there and we respect them, but will need to worry about what we can do to keep moving forward.

PBR: Anything else you would like to add, feel free to send it. Remember, this is for your players, your coaching staff and your community.
I'm happy for the players, parents, and St. John's Jesuit Community to be able to be with us on this ride to the regionals. It means a lot to the school and the pride that the St. John's Jesuit Community already has.

Strongsville

Record: 15-12
Final Ranking: No. 38
Preseason Ranking: No. 9
Highest Ranking: No. 9 - Preseason
Postseason History: 

  • State Champions: 2006
  • State Finalist: 2017
  • Regional Champions: 2017, 2006
  • District Champions: 2017, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2007, 2006   

Team Stats:

  • .267 AVG, 185 Runs
  • 3.02 ERA, 195 K

Top Players:

Coach's Thoughts:

PBR: What are a couple of things you like about your team right now?
Coach: We pitch and catch really well Between Matt Brosky, Mitch Midea, Trevor Denning, Austin Mucurio, and Lenny Hahn, we have 5 seniors that we’ve been able to lean on all year. As important as our pitchers have been to us, their success would not have been possible without what our freshman catcher has done. Ben Lien’s first day of tryouts was with his classmates. By the middle of March, he had earned a spot on our team. By the middle of April, he was our starting catcher and hasn’t looked back. We ask a lot of our catchers, including calling the game, and Ben no longer acts like a freshman. He has earned the trust of our senior-laden pitching staff and that’s not easy to do. Ben receives well, reads swings well, and competes.  

PBR: Talk about the feeling when your team won districts?
Coach: It seemed like there was a combination of exhilaration and a feeling of expected accomplishment. We felt like we had the best pitching in our district and so often in tournament baseball a team’s top two or three arms is more important than any other part of the game. We may not have been the top seed in our district, but our schedule prepared us for everything we saw.  

PBR: Thoughts about being able to play in the regionals?
Coach: It’s always humbling to be one of the last 16 teams standing in the state in your division, but honestly my first thought is about our conference. The Greater Cleveland Conference is without question one of the best in the state. We have 3 teams out of 8 through to the Regionals for the second consecutive year. 7 out of 8 teams finished at .500 or better overall and all seven play good competition out of conference. The conference champion (Solon) had 3 losses, showing the depth of our league. Last year, 3 teams advanced to the regional finals.  We played for a state title. We try to schedule very difficult teams out of conference but without the internal competition in our league, I’m not sure who would make it out of their district.  As for us, having been there last year will definitely help. Thursday won’t just be another game but the moment won’t be too big for most of our guys either. 7 of our 10 starters played in the Final Four last year; 6 of them started a game in the Final Four. They’ll be locked in and ready to help our younger guys settle into the game.

PBR: Thoughts on the four-team field at the regional?
Coach: Our record may not be as shiny as others but we’re no underdog. This team is tournament tough, battle tested, and will compete for 21 outs--or more if necessary. Amherst is very good and has one of the very best arms in the state ready to go against us. We do too though. Matt Brosky beat Braydon Nelson from St. Ignatius (now at St. Bonaventure), Grant Delas from Perrysburg, and Tyler Brown from Olentangy Orange (now at Vanderbilt) last year in our run to a State Final. Our schedule has prepared us -- we’ve played elite competition in Florida, each of our league foes twice, St. Ignatius twice, St. Edward, Toledo St. Francis, Brecksville, and three defending state champions: Jackson, Tallmadge, and Saline (MI). We’ll put that schedule up against anyone in the state. There is no guarantee we’ll win because Amherst is really good, especially on the mound. Coach Rositano has done a great job developing their program from top to bottom and they have and will compete with anybody.  Having said that, we’ll be ready to play, and if the game is close late we know from last year that we can win one run ball games in the playoffs. 

We really don’t know much about Toledo St. John’s and Anthony Wayne this year but we fully recognize how good their programs are year after year. I’ve seen Brock Nartker pitch before and his stuff can be electric. I haven’t seen Andrew Murphy but we know how good Perrysburg is from last year so shutting them out speaks for itself. Anthony Wayne’s lineup is deep and productive.  Coach Nell does a great job with their program and they are in the hunt every single year. We also know St. John’s Caleb Biedenharn threw a gem against St. Francis in their district final. Coach Meinzer clearly has them headed in the right direction. Four teams believe they could win this regional and it may not take many runs to do so.

PBR: Anything else you would like to add, feel free to send it. Remember, this is for your players, your coaching staff and your community.
Coach: The amount of community support, in-school support, and student support we’ve had since May, 2017 has been incredible. Strongsville has always been a good baseball town but there has been a different buzz the last 13 months. Thank you to everyone for that.

Also, if people don’t realize how good our coaching staff is, they should. Mike Giampietro coaches multiple age groups, from his young kids through adult league games and has seen just about every situation a game could bring. He teaches incredibly well, knows when to motivate, yet also knows when a player needs us to back off a little and let the guy just play. Ryan Bores blends his knowledge from playing the game at Kent St. and in the Texas Rangers organization with new ideas filtered in from our athletic training/strength and conditioning staff (Steve Pritchard, Joe Kopacz, Katie Vasich). He is wise beyond his years and has the rare combination of soft-spoken intensity. Kids simply believe in what he’s saying, both because he’s done it at the highest levels and because they see the evidence from prior team success on the mound. He runs our pitching staff. Bryan Bent and Joe Gambitta are our two younger level coaches and I know sometimes they get frustrated because we’re constantly scheduling the toughest schedule we can find for JV and Freshmen.  While their records have fluctuated through the years, when they send our kids to the varsity level, they’re ready to play. They’ve developed over the course of the year. We’ll sacrifice a win or two at a younger level to make sure guys are getting better. Bryan and Joe can develop. Shaun Gaydos came onto our staff as an assistant near the end of the season and his energy is a welcome addition. He has fit in already and will do well for us in the future.

Lastly, I want to thank the local travel programs around our area. Often, high school coaches and travel coaches struggle to get along but Strongsville Baseball would be so much worse without the coaching our guys are getting. I’d start naming organizations, but I don’t want to leave someone out. We can honestly say that our kids are better baseball players in February than they were when we last saw them in May or June. Thank you for your work because we’re all in this together to get kids better.

Amherst Steele

Record: 26-4
Final Ranking: No. 4
Preseason Ranking: No. 10
Highest Ranking: No. 4 - Week 4
Postseason History: This is Amherst’s fifth Regional appearance, with the last one being in 2016, but never advanced to the Regional finals. Amherst won the outright and back-to-back SWC Championships for the first time since 2003-2004. Matt Rositano has a career coaching record of 129-45.

Fun Facts: Twenty-four wins is a school record. Evan Shawver holds the school record for lowest season ERA (0.00), lowest career ERA (0.76), strikeouts in a game (19), strikeouts in a season (112), strikeouts in a career (306), and career wins (21)

Team Stats:

  • .309 AVG, 185 Runs
  • 1.57 ERA, 284 K

Top Players:

  • Evan Shawver, P/CF, Senior - (8-0), 0.00 ERA
  • Kyle Mantin, RF, Senior - .405 AVG
  • Jake Hart, 2B, Junior - .245 AVG
  • Jacob Lezon, 1B, Junior - .378 AVG
  • Ryan Glowacki, SS, Senior - .320 AVG
  • Hunter Cassidy, C, Senior - .308 AVG
  • Gabe Solak, CF/LF, Senior - .317 AVG
  • Kyle Dalzell, LF/DH, Junior - .259 AVG
  • Cameron Karnik, 3B, Senior - .226 AVG
  • Jack Faight, RHP, Senior - (7-1), 2.02 ERA, 62 K
  • Dylan Eaton, RHP, Junior - (1-0, 2 Saves), 1.69 ERA, 27 K
  • Anthony Berrios, LHP, Senior - (5-0), 3.03 ERA, 49 K

Coach's Thoughts:

PBR: What are a couple of things you like about your team right now?
Coach: This team is playing with laser focus and doing all the little things needed to win big games. The offense has come around late in the season to give our outstanding pitching staff the run support necessary to win come tournament time. It is a senior-led group that has its sights set on achieving big things.

PBR: Talk about the feeling when your team won districts?
Coach: I was happiest for the players, especially the senior class. They have done so many great things to make Amherst Steele a premier program in the state, and they deserve to play on the big stage.

PBR: Thoughts about being able to play in the regionals?
Coach: It is another challenge that I think the guys are ready for. They seem to thrive playing against the best teams and best talent, and I’m excited for them to show what they can do. Hopefully, if we continue to keep playing well, we will be happy with whatever the end result is.

PBR: Thoughts on the four-team field at the regional?
Coach: Pitching heavy! All four teams have top-tier pitchers, so I think runs will be at a premium. I expect low-scoring games, and whichever teams can execute in all aspects of the games will find themselves coming out on top.

PBR: Anything else you would like to add, feel free to send it. Remember, this is for your players, your coaching staff and your community.
Coach: I love the chemistry of this team. It is a selfless bunch that only cares about doing what needs to be done to win. They love competing, playing the game, and being around each other. The school and community has rallied around them, and hopefully we will have a huge crowd cheering these great young men on at the end of the week.

Division I, Region 4 - Cincinnati 

Region Overview: Top-ranked Mason has been strong in tourney play with a pair of 10-run wins. Centerville will look to knock off the top-ranked team in the state. State power Moeller is looking to beat fellow state power Elder for the fourth time this season. 

For Fun Prediction: Finishing it off for Division I is the toughest and most talented region of them all, the Cincinnati region. Mason is loaded. Moeller reloads every year. Elder has the pedigree and Centerville has talent of their own. I am going to take the loaded team in Mason and the team that reloads every year in Moeller. Now it's Moeller vs Mason with the winner ...the Comets.

Dylan Hefflinger:

  • Moeller over Elder
  • Mason over Centerville
    • REGIONAL CHAMP - Mason

Fan Vote:

  • Moeller over Elder
  • Mason over Centerville
    • REGIONAL CHAMP - Mason

Elder

Record: 21-8
Final Ranking: No. 21
Preseason Ranking: No. 40
Highest Ranking: No. 4 - Week 1
Postseason History: Two wins away from 21st state appearance. 12 state championships in school history

Team Stats:

  • .289 AVG, 151 Runs
  • 2.55 ERA, 172 K

Top Players: (For stats, visit here)

Coach's Thoughts:

PBR: What are a couple of things you like about your team right now?
Coach: Pitching and defense have been pretty consistent all year. Offensively, we have struggled at times. Our confidence and aggressiveness at the plate are improving each game now and that’s good to see.

PBR: Talk about the feeling when your team won districts?
Coach: It’s been a few years since we’ve had the opportunity to play this deep into the tournament. Winning the district championship makes feel relevant again.

PBR: Thoughts about being able to play in the regionals?
Coach: Great opportunity for us to see how we’ve grown and matured as a team since the beginning of the year.

PBR: Thoughts on the four-team field at the regional?
Coach: Either played or scrimmaged all 3 this year. All well-coached with a hammer on the mound that has the capability of beating anyone. Mason and Moeller will be the favorites to move on, but anything can happen, and hopefully we’ll get the big hit or two to get us to Columbus.

Moeller

Record: 24-6
Final Ranking: No. 3
Preseason Ranking: No. 1
Highest Ranking: No. 1 - Preseason
Postseason History:

  • 19th district title
  • 32nd 20 win season
  • going for 13th regional title
  • 9th state title

Team Stats:

  • .317 AVG, 203 Runs
  • 2.21 ERA, 219 K

Top Players: (For stats, visit here)

Coach's Thoughts:

PBR: What are a couple of things you like about your team right now?
Coach: We are playing very aggressive right now and that’s spilling over into all parts of our game.

PBR: Talk about the feeling when your team won districts?
Coach: We were happy to get back to the regional after missing out on it the past couple of years.

PBR: Thoughts about being able to play in the regionals?
Coach: It’s a great honor to make it to the regionals and to have a chance to represent SW Ohio in Columbus

PBR: Thoughts on the four-team field at the regional?
Coach: It’s a very strong field. Mason is the favorite, but any of the four teams could win it and have a great shot in Columbus.

Mason

Record: 24-5
Final Ranking: No. 1
Preseason Ranking: No. 3
Highest Ranking: No. 1 - Week 2
Postseason History: Lone regional championship came in 1987

Team Stats:

  • .348 AVG, 233 Runs
  • 2.30 ERA, 261 K

Coach's Thoughts:

PBR: What are a couple of things you like about your team right now?
Coach: We've got a group of players that believe in each other. They play hard and are committed to each other's success. That spills over to other aspects. They believe in what they're trying to accomplish.

PBR: Talk about the feeling when your team won districts?
Coach: That was one of the goals of our season, but we didn't overly celebrate, though some of that was due to the score of the game. It's a great accomplishment, but it's just another step along the way. 

PBR: Thoughts about being able to play in the regionals?
Coach: It's always exciting to be one of the last four teams in the Southwest Region. There are four great teams and any of the four can come out.

PBR: Thoughts on the four-team field at the regional?
Coach: These are four quality teams with qualify coaches. Everyone has someone good on the mound, and more than one. Any one of the teams can win it and represent the area well at state. 

PBR: Anything else you would like to add, feel free to send it. Remember, this is for your players, your coaching staff and your community.
Coach: We have had a great year, primarily because of the chemistry of the club. We don't panic. We were down early in two of our tournament games and we responded. We know what we want to accomplish and recognize what it's going to take. We need execution and a great effort to win the next couple of days.

Centerville

Record: 18-10
Final Ranking: Just missed cut
Preseason Ranking: No. 24
Highest Ranking: No. 24 - Preseason
Postseason History: 6th District Title in History. We won the 1st State Championship in History in 1928 and our program was built by Coach Tim Engleka (760 Career Wins) and Coach Terry Dickten (22 Years as Coach). Only 3 Head Coaches in the last 50+ years and Head Coach Jason Whited currently 66-44 at Centerville High School with 2 Sectional Titles and 2 District Titles.

Team Stats:

  • .280 AVG, 157 Runs
  • 2.06 ERA, 186 K

Top Players: (For stats, visit here)

Coach's Thoughts:

PBR: What are a couple of things you like about your team right now?
Coach: The thing I like about this team is how they have responded to some difficult situations. We lose the league and respond. We deal with rain delays and suspended games and respond.  We deal with alternative sites and we respond. Really a reflection of our leadership and specifically our captains Sr Riley Poulton, Jr Morgan Colopy, and Jr Nick Hoffmann. Along those same lines those three guys have really been the catalysts for this run and have helped us get the opportunity to compete at the Regional.

PBR: Talk about the feeling when your team won districts?
Coach: Excitement. Always fun to watch your guys get to be kids for a minute. Last year I was unable to really see the dogpile take place after being mauled by our coaches but made sure I found a spot down at the end of the dugout to watch our guys go crazy a little bit. After that feeling the emotions turned into prep mode and starting to get ready for a really good team in Mason.

PBR: Thoughts about being able to play in the regionals?
Coach: Opportunity. To think that you start this thing with over 190 teams and start working your way down it is a great opportunity to be one of 16 left. However, our goal year in and year out is to focus on winning pitches and try to find a way to get to Huntington Park. I am very excited to watch our guys start prepping for Mason and excited for our community to continue to give the tremendous support they have to this point.  

PBR: Thoughts on the four-team field at the regional?
Coach: Loaded. When you think of the powers in SW Ohio those three teams are the ones you think of. Elder, Moeller, and Mason are really well coached teams and we look forward to the opportunity. I really feel Elder coming back after a couple year hiatus is a strong, well-coached team with a really deep roster. Then you have Moeller and for them to get back and bring numerous elite players they are always a threat to win the thing. Mason as well with how strong that pitching roster is and lineup it really makes it a great field and we are excited to show that we belong in the mix.

PBR: Anything else you would like to add, feel free to send it. Remember, this is for your players, your coaching staff and your community.
Coach: We are excited to represent the Greater Western Ohio Conference and more importantly Dayton in the Regional. Our community is excited to allow our players to step on the field and attempt to play our Best Game Last.  We also would like to thank PBR Ohio for the coverage and UC for hosting the Regional Final. 

A Look Back At The 2017 Season:

To view the 2017 Team Previews, click here.

To view the OHSAA Baseball Tournament Roundup, click below.

To view the 2017 All-State Teams, click below.

To view the 2017 Preseason All-State Teams, click below.