Prep Baseball Report

Division I Team Of The Week: Week 1 and 2 - Walsh Jesuit

Bruce Hefflinger and Dylan Hefflinger
PBR Ohio Senior Writer and Editor in Chief/NW Scout

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Division I Team Of The Week: Week 1 and 2 - Walsh Jesuit

CUYAHOGA FALLS - First there was a 3-0 record at the inaugural Prep Baseball Report High School Invitational. Next was a first-place finish at the annual Cuyahoga Falls City Classic

The impressive 5-0 start to the season has Walsh Jesuit living up to its billing as the number one team in the state and with it comes the recognition as the Prep Baseball Report Division I Team of the Week.

“Even though we’ve not been on the field much (due to the weather) we’ve been able to be consistent defensively and our pitching has helped keep us in games,” pointed out Walsh Jesuit head coach Chris Kaczmar. “We’ve played a challenging schedule and our defense has held up their side of the bargain.”

The season started with wins over Anthony Wayne, Canfield and Massillon Jackson to win the Jerry Baumgartner eight-team invitational at Rossford the first weekend of the year. A 7-2 victory over Cuyahoga Falls and a 7-4 triumph over CVCA this past weekend made it five straight wins to open the campaign.

The victory over CVCA came against one of the top pitchers in Ohio in Kent State commit Andrew Hendrickx, the 97th-rated 2022 right-handed pitcher in the nation.

“He was very, very good, I was extremely impressed with him,” Kaczmar said of the senior who has hit 92 on the gun. “Kent State is getting a tremendous player.”

Kaczmar was also impressed with his team.

“I was proud of the way we were able to fight pitches off and extend at-bats,” the Walsh Jesuit coach noted. “We were able to scratch some runs across early in the game.”

The Warriors took a 2-1 lead and increased it with a pair of home runs when CVCA, which came into the game at 6-0, took Hendrickx out of the contest. Joey Cnazoni hit a two-run bomb to make it 4-1 and, after CVCA trimmed the deficit to 4-2, Henry Kaczmar unloaded on a three-run homer to put Walsh on top 7-2.

Canzoni, a Cincinnati commit who bats first, and Kaczmar, a Michigan signee who hits second, help form an imposing top of the order featuring three-hole hitter Mason Eckelman, a sophomore catcher committed to Michigan.

“Our top three are off to a good start,” the Walsh Jesuit coach said.

There have been other “bright spots” in the lineup according to Kaczmar, pointing to senior Will Harding, a Holy Cross commit, along with juniors John Simecek and Justin Bremner as well as Charleston commit Andrew Gormley, the center fielder.

Of course the pitching has also been outstanding with Xavier recruit Ryan Piech and Cincinnati commit Drew Erdmann, a pair of junior right-handers, both 2-0. Senior Jackson Phelps has done well in relief, added Kaczmar, with 6-6 junior right-hander Jack Paulus also solid in his first year on the varsity.

“We’ve been able to take advantage of our depth and give our pitchers a lot of appearances,” noted Kaczmar. “That’s been by design giving everyone plenty of opportunities.”

Things do not get any easier ahead for the Warriors.

“We’re excited about our schedule,” related Kaczmar. “It’s been able to help us learn about ourselves. We have many, many games taking shape over the next 14 days.”

There is a matchup on Saturday at the PBR High School Classic in Defiance against Mason with the Jesuit Classic, Rubberducks Classic at Canal Park and Rivalry Week with games versus Hoban and SVSM all ahead.

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