Division IV Team Of The Week: Week 3 - Fort Loramie


Bruce Hefflinger
PBR Ohio Senior Writer

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Division IV Team Of The Week: Week 3 - Fort Loramie

FORT LORAMIE - It has been a true team effort thus far for Fort Loramie, which is off to a 13-2 start to the season and the Prep Baseball Report Division IV Team of the Week.

“We have an interesting lineup one through nine,” noted head coach Jeff Sanders, whose team won for the 14th time this year with a 10-2 victory over Jackson Center on Monday. “We have an assortment of right-handed and left-handed hitters with the ability to do different things. We can play small ball or hit it to the gap. We have the freedom to do a lot of different things.”

One area that has stood out according to Sanders is defense.

“We were a little unsure about how our defense would be so we’ve spent a lot of time on that,” Sanders explained. “We’ve made a lot of great plays.”

That is necessary in the eyes of the Fort Loramie head coach, whose team is now ranked fifth in the state in D-IV by Prep Baseball Report.

“We don’t have that pitching we had in 2019 with the ability to strike out batters at that rate,” Sanders said. “We knew there would be more balls put in play this year. Instead of eight or nine in play like then, now there are 16 or 17 in play with essentially no top pitcher.”

Mack Fortman, Caeleb Meyer, Derek Meyer, Sam Barhorst and Ty Ruhenkamp have all made contributions pitching for Fort Loramie, which has become a state power with Division IV state championships in 2007, 2010 and 2018.

“One thing we don’t have is a clear-cut number one,” Sanders pointed out. “All the guys are at the same level. I don’t know if an ace will develop, maybe one will, but as long as all of them are doing an effective job it’s going to help us by being deep like that.

“They just need to command the strike zone and keep us out of trouble,” Sanders continued. “Except for one game, we’ve been able to minimize the big innings.”

Two big wins came last Saturday, a 7-0 victory over Division III Indian Lake and an 8-0 triumph over Division I Northmont. The Redskins, which also defeated Russia 4-0 behind a two-hitter from Fortman and Fairlawn 13-1 during action last week, is now 7-0 in the Shelby County League, two games in front of their nearest competitor Anna.

“We have some guys off basketball season that are starting to come around,” noted Sanders in reference to Grant Albers and Caeleb Meyer. “We have some other guys that have been good getting on base and that’s helped.”

Evan Eilerman, Derek Meyer and Jake Sanders, the 24th-ranked senior second baseman in the state, fit into that group, with Devin Ratermann and senior Darren Hoying other standouts.

“Darren is a four-year starter coming off Tommy John that would have missed last year,” Sanders related. “He’s been a rock steady influence for us offensively.”

Three players are batting better than .400 at the present for a Fort Loramie squad that has a team batting average of .325.

“We just need to minimize mistakes,” explained Sanders, whose Redskins are 2-0 against Division I teams and 8-0 versus D-IV squads with a 3-2 mark playing D-II teams, the losses coming to Wheelersburg and Coldwater. “Playing fundamentally sound baseball and getting the right breaks will be the key. It’s about creating your own fate and playing well.”

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