Division I Team Of The Week: Week 3 - Oregon Clay


Bruce Hefflinger
PBR Ohio Senior Writer

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Division I Team Of The Week: Week 3 - Oregon Clay

OREGON - A win over Toledo St. John’s and two victories over Lima Senior has Oregon Clay riding high with a six-game winning streak.

“I’ve really been happy with our leadership,” pointed out Jim Phillips, the head coach of the Prep Baseball Report Division II Team of the Week, which avenged an earlier loss this season to St. John’s. “Defense and hitting is kind of what we thought it might be, but we weren’t sure. It’s been a strong point. That, and leadership helping our younger guys and showing them what we’re trying to do in the program, has been big.”

A 6-3 win over Medina at the PBR Classic the previous Saturday was an important win in a stretch of nine victories in 10 games for Clay.

“That was awesome,” Phillips said of the event that brought eight teams to play four games at Clay High School. “It’s great to be branching out and great for high school baseball in general to showcase good players. It helps PBR, colleges and high school teams.”

It also proved beneficial for the Eagles, which have a 12-2 record entering this week’s play.

“We have a close-knit team,” Phillips pointed out in regard to what he has found out about his squad in the first month of the season. “We have a good mixture of seniors, juniors and sophomores. After not playing together last year, it was hard to tell how we would gel. But this team is enjoyable to be around on a daily basis. They’re staying focused on the immediate goals and not looking too far down the road.”

A pair of seniors have led the way at the dish for Clay, with two-hole left fielder Logan Heintschel hitting .476 and DH Trevor Jurski averaging .412. Juniors Donovan Coughlin, Spencer Fortier and Jackson Kennedy are others performing well. Coughlin, a first baseman, is hitting .395 while Fortier, a three-hole batter ranked 162nd in the state in the 2022 class, is playing second base and averaging .372. Kennedy, a catcher, is at .357.

Jurski, the 88th-ranked senior right-handed pitcher in Ohio, is 3-1 on the mound while sophomores Anthony Barnes and Jase Kennedy, the 30th-rated 2023 RHP, are 3-0 and 1-0, respectively. Junior Jonathan Marsico, “our best strike thrower” according to Phillips, leads the team in innings pitched and has five saves.

“Our pitching has been playing with fire a bit,” pointed out Phillips. “We’re winning games but I’m not happy with our walks collectively as a group. As we head down the stretch, if we can cut into that it will take pressure off our defense and hitting and allow our pitchers to go further into games with a lower pitch count.”

That is the key in the eyes of Phillips, whose team is currently in first place in the Three Rivers Athletic Conference with one less loss than Toledo St. John’s and Findlay.

“The biggest thing for us is walking guys,” Phillips concluded. “I have a good handle on our offense and defense and if we continue to progress there we’ll be fine. But as far as pitching, if we continue to walk guys the better teams will take advantage. I think we can do some good things if we do a better job not walking so many. If not, we can still do it but it will just be tougher.”

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