Division IV Team Of The Week: Week 4 - Lima Central Catholic


Bruce Hefflinger
PBR Ohio Senior Writer

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Division IV Team Of The Week: Week 4 - Lima Central Catholic

LIMA - Victories over teams from four different conferences earned Lima Central Catholic the honor of Prep Baseball Report Division IV Team of the Week.

“We challenged our guys at the beginning of the week that the opportunity to play some really good teams was a measuring stick for us and really will have an impact on where we end up with tournament seeding,” explained LCC head coach John Schnieders. “It came down to excellent pitching and solid defensive play throughout the week. We didn't beat ourselves and were a bit better than we had been at the plate with guys on base. We did what good teams do and took advantage of opponent’s miscues.”

The end result was a 9-0 win over Columbus Grove, a 4-3 triumph over D-IV state power Lincolnview and a 5-2 victory over Division II Lima Shawnee from the Western Buckeye League before capping off the week by getting past Minster, of the Midwest Athletic Conference, 6-3.

“The connectedness and comradery of this group has stood out, and also their resiliency,” Schnieders said. “We’ve had some adversity with injuries, some growing pains for our young players, and have struggled offensively, but they’ve stayed positive and continued to work. It’s a very refreshing and coachable group that has been motivated to do the work and learn what it will take to win. Up and down the roster I can point to guys that have made great progress and key contributions.”

Admittedly, there were a lot of uncertainties heading into the campaign.

“This year is different for everybody coming off the lost season due to COVID-19.” Schnieders noted. “I had a feeling we had some guys that were ready to take a step forward at the varsity level, but I wasn't sure how quickly the young talent we have would adjust to the level of competition we play. We’ve had our share of frustration and had some injuries early, but have made steady progress. We still have a long way to go to get where we need to be to contend in our district, but I like our kids’ mindset.”

Schnieders, whose T-Birds are now 12-7 on the year, points to a pair of players as instrumental in the team’s success to date, Connor Gephart and Billy Bourk. A junior catcher/pitcher/infielder, Gephart “has been our leader and most consistent player” according to Schnieders while Bourk, the sixth-rated  freshman right-handed pitcher in Ohio, is described by his coach as a player with “outstanding talent that has made an immediate impact as a key part of our varsity roster.”

Primarily a catcher who is hitting .357 with a .671 on base percentage, Gephart had saves this past week against Shawnee and Minster. Bourk - who also pitches, catches and plays infield - is 3-1 with a 1.53 ERA throwing in key games this year while also leading the team in RBIs with 17 batting in the middle of the lineup.

“We just need to continue to improve,” said Schnieders, whose team has three games this week highlighted by a matchup with state-ranked Wayne Trace on Friday. “We have proved all year that we are capable of playing with the best teams, now we have to develop consistency in playing to that standard. Our guys know we can still get a lot better.

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