Prep Baseball Report

Division I Team Of The Week: Week 3 - Northview

Bruce Hefflinger
Ohio Senior Writer

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Division I Team Of The Week: Week 3 - Northview

SYLVANIA - “A rebuilding phase” has turned into an unbeaten start to the 2024 season for Sylvania Northview, the Prep Baseball Division I Team of the Week.

A 7-1 win over Toledo St. John’s pushed the Wildcats to 6-0 on the year, with success continuing this week with a victory over Perrysburg on Monday giving Northview win number seven on the season.

“To be honest, we expected to be in a rebuilding phase,” head coach Aaron Tullis admitted. “We lost nine seniors in back-to-back years after winning the Division I state championship in ’22.”

But the Wildcats have surprised even their head coach.

“Their attention to detail,” Tullis pointed to about what has stood out. “These are strong character guys who approach hardworking with open arms. We talk a lot about the grind and how good our league is and they show up and respond everyday.”

It starts on the mound and behind the plate according to the Northview mentor, whose Wildcats are ranked ninth in the state in Division I and 10th in the Power 25.

“This team is led by a veteran pitching staff and an experienced catcher,” explained Tullis. “We have tried to surround them with talented younger guys who lack a little experience and our young guys have done an exceptional job of stepping up and handling adversity. They are fielding at .960 which is impressive for such a young group.”

Toledo commit Vin Bentley leads the way on the mound. The 91st-rate senior right-handed pitcher in Ohio is 2-0 with a 0.467 ERA, striking out 15 in 15 innings. Senior righty Bradon Thrush (2-0, 0.00 ERA) and junior southpaw Roman McKarus (1-0, 0.00 ERA) complete the top three for Northview, with seniors Nick Koczorowski (2.33 ERA) and Vincent Jolliff (1-0, 3.00 ERA), a left-hander, adding bullpen help. More depth comes from junior lefty Nick Schantz (1.00 ERA), who “has done a really solid job in his new role” as closer according to Tullis.

“Our pitching has been elite from our entire staff,” Tullis said. “We don’t have a bunch of flame throwers but we have kids who trust our brand. They pound the zone, and are relentless strike throwers.”

Josh Sprenger is the catcher for the Wildcats and a big reason for the success this year according to Tullis.

“He’s a very elite defensive catcher,” Tullis said of the junior backstop, who started at third base on the state championship team in 2022. “He is one of the best I’ve had in 18 years.”

McKarus, a left-handed hitting outfielder, leads the way at the plate with a .500 batting average while junior Colin Tomanski is at .438 and sophomore Carson Holmes .400. Four others are batting better than .300, sophomore Charlie Paulson .389, senior Christian Berling .357, freshman Conner Draper .353 and junior Gabe Peace. 333. As a team the Wildcats are hitting .336.

“Throw strikes, make routine plays and scratch out a few runs,” Tullis said about what the keys are to continued success the rest of the way. “It sounds cliché, but that’s been our bread and butter.”

Northview, which began the season with wins over New Albany, Northridge, Marshall (Missouri) and Bellbrook at the Beach Bash in Florida before returning to Ohio to beat Bowling Green, has another game ahead with Perrysburg before playing Clay to compete league action in a week capped off playing in the Prep Baseball Classic at Defiance on Saturday at 9 a.m. against the host school.

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