Prep Baseball Report

Division IV Team Of The Week: Week 3 - Lima Central Catholic

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

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Division IV Team Of The Week: Week 3 - Lima Central Catholic

LIMA - Lima Central Catholic head coach John Schnieders is hoping a strong schedule has positive results come tournament time.

So far the regular season has not been too bad, with the T-Birds winning eight of nine games and earning Prep Baseball Report Division IV Team of the Week accolades.

“I like the schedule we play,” explained Schnieders. “We’re independent so with baseball we’re not seeing the ones and twos, we’re seeing threes and fours. That doesn’t help when we’re playing D-III and IV teams. In the tournament we’re seeing high-end arms and if we haven’t seen them until then the kids have that ‘wow factor.’

“So the last 10 years we’ve tried to schedule the best teams we can. We might lose a few more games, but we’re trying to build toward facing the tough northwest Ohio small-school baseball we’re going to see in May. At Defiance we saw the caliber of pitching we’re going to see come May.”

A loss to Defiance, the top-rated Division II team in the state, is the lone defeat to date for LCC, which rebounded to beat Lima Senior 5-4 and Liberty-Benton 9-3 to close out last week.

“We did enough but, like Monday, we didn’t play with the energy we played with up to that point,” Schnieders said of the Lima Senior game. “After that we challenged our kids that we’ve got to start bringing it and we played a nice game at Liberty-Benton in tough conditions. The kids really responded.”

The challenges have been enormous this spring baseball season in Ohio, with weather conditions forcing postponements as well as the inability to use the playing field for practice.

“We’ve done more mental and classroom things about the mindset we need to be in when we are able to play games,” Schnieders related. “For the most part, our kids have been focused and been a very competitive group.”

Four-year starter Connor Gephart is the leader for the fourth-ranked Division IV team in the state.

“He’s a kid who gets it,” Schnieders said of the football commit to Mount Union. “He sees what’s happening and will do what we ask him to do to help us win games.”

The team’s catcher who also pitches is batting .333 while posting three saves and a 1-1 record with a 1.75 ERA in five appearances totaling eight innings as a pitcher thus far.

Sophomores Billy Bourk and Carson Parker have been productive at the plate while providing a strong one-two punch on the mound. Bourk, who catches and plays outfield in addition to pitching, is batting .375 with a .600 on-base percentage while winning one of two decisions with a 1.71 ERA, striking out 16 in 16 innings of work. Parker, a shortstop as well as pitcher, is averaging .367 at the plate and is 3-0 with a 1.84 ERA, fanning 21 in 19 innings.

“Our pitching has been very good on the front end,” Schnieders said.

Center fielder Quintel Peoples is another senior four-year player who brings speed to the lineup.

All four have that team mindset and bring experience and talent to the team,” Schnieders noted.

The LCC coach is waiting for others to produce with some tough tests ahead starting on Thursday at Wapakoneta.

“The surprise so far to me is we have a few guys not hitting at all yet and we’re still finding ways to win,” Schnieders said. “I think we’ll be better offensively when the weather improves.”

There are additional keys the Lima CC coach is looking for out of his squad.

“Keeping healthy is important like with any D-IV team,” Schnieders concluded. “As the weather gets better and we play more games each week we’ll learn more about the depth of our rotation. We also need to steadily improve at the plate and play baseball smart. If we can do those things we’ll be fine.”

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