Division III Team Of The Week: Week 3 - Colonel Crawford


Bruce Hefflinger
PBR Ohio Senior Writer

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Division III Team Of The Week: Week 3 - Colonel Crawford

NORTH ROBINSON - The Colonel Crawford football and boys basketball teams both went undefeated in the regular season and won the Northern 10 Atlantic Conference. Can the baseball team follow suit?

“They said no pressure on me,” joked Colonel Crawford’s Dan Gorbett, head coach of the Prep Baseball Report Division III Team of the Week.

A solid one-two punch on the mound and improved hitting have the Eagles off to a 14-0 start to the season, featuring 12-7 and 3-1 wins over Wynford, which entered last week unbeaten in the league. Colonel Crawford also topped Seneca East 12-1 and Willard 21-9 and now has a two-game lead in the Northern 10 Atlantic Conference with five games to go. The Eagles have only won two league titles in school history, the last coming in 2012.

Can more history be made at the school, which won its first baseball district championship in 52 years in Gorbett’s first year at the helm in 2019? Now up to Division III, the Eagles are looking to do just that behind the pitching of Drayton Burkhart and Cade Hamilton.

Burkhart, a Defiance College commit ranked 142nd among senior right-handed pitchers in Ohio, is 5-0 after fanning 105 and walking 20 two seasons ago for Colonel Crawford. Hamilton, the 28th-rated 2021 shortstop in the state, is also 5-0 on the hill including a complete-game win over Wynford last week.

“Both have been lights out,” Gorbett said of his senior duo, which have helped Colonel Crawford to the number four spot in this week’s Prep Baseball Report D-III ratings.

The concern was hitting, but that could be changing according to the Colonel Crawford mentor.

“As a team we’ve not been hitting great, pitching and defense have been getting us by,” Gorbett explained. “But we’re starting to hit better. Last week was a breakout week for us. We were 10-0 with a .270 team batting average but now we’re over .300. Hopefully, we’ve turned the corner.”

Hamilton is the leader at the plate for the Eagles with a .420 batting average.

“He’s very, very fast and an instinctive base runner,” Gorbett said of the 6-3 200-pound uncommitted senior shortstop. “He also walks a lot.”

Carson Feichtner, a catcher on the 2019 regional team that was led by the pitching of his now graduated brother Gavin, currently has elbow issues and is the DH, batting 400 on the year.

“We hope to have him back behind the plate by tournament time,” Gorbett pointed out.

Brock Ritzhaupt, a senior outfielder committed to Heidelberg in football, has also produced well at the plate with a .350 average batting fifth in the lineup.

“We have four kids that lettered as freshmen when I wasn’t their coach, so we have some experience even with the year missed,” Gorbett said. “Because of that game experience, I think that’s been an advantage for us.”

Gorbett, who was pulled out of retirement to return to Colonel Crawford and is now in his 33rd year as a head coach with stints at Galion and Ontario in addition to Colonel Crawford, knows what the keys are for success the rest of the way.

“We need to continue to improve and we have done that,” Gorbett said. “We’ve really worked on our hitting and think that’s paid off.

“What we can’t do is get big-headed. We still need to get better. We want to get the league clinched and then focus on our next goal which is winning a district championship.”

A Look Back At What Would've Been The 2020 Season:

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A Look Back At The Last Decade:

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A Look Back At The 2018 Season:

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A Look Back At The 2017 Season:

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