Prep Baseball Report

Division I Team Of The Week: Week 4 - Olentangy Orange

Bruce Hefflinger
Ohio Senior Writer

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Division I Team Of The Week: Week 4 - Olentangy Orange

LEWIS CENTER - With 14 wins in the first 15 games to open the season, Tom Marker doesn’t beat around the bush when talking about his Olentangy Orange 2024 squad.

“This team is very special,” the veteran head coach said. “Their consistency is what is most impressive. It goes back to having great supporters (parents) and guys that have a genuine interest in impacting the environment in a positive way. Impact the environment and then within the game, impact the scoreboard.”

Wins over Grove City 13-3, Hilliard Bradley 6-4 and 11-6, Olentangy Liberty 11-5 and Strongsville 10-3 has Orange claiming honors as the Prep Baseball Division I Team of the Week.

“Losing 17 seniors allowed for a ton of early-season opportunities,” explained Marker, who led the Pioneers to the state finals a year ago. “Our guys have played with innocence and have continued to ‘play for the kid’. We do not really set goals, but rather think about building a connected group starting with offseason workouts and continuing through our spring trip and challenging schedule.”

Orange is getting the job done both on the mound and at the plate.

“This year's team has an ERA that is 1.42 ticks below our ERA at this time last year,” Marker noted. “We've had really good performances from the pen and our starters have allowed our defense to do their thing.”

Marker is thrilled with the results to date.

“We are hitting .333 as a team with a team ERA of 2.12,” Marker said. “I think it has been a culmination of all the guys playing team baseball. No specific statistics stand out, but rather the group is very connected, very centered and has been playing high level team baseball.”

A team that starts four sophomores and one freshman, Keegan Knupp is the lone college commit. The fifth-rated junior third baseman in Ohio is headed to Eastern Michigan.

“This team has a very high care level for what Olentangy Orange Baseball stands for,” related Marker, who also has James Wimsatt (20th-rated junior shortstop), Wyatt Lidke (14th-rated junior outfielder) and senior catcher Casey Covert back after starting last year. “They compete in the classroom, weightroom, and on the field. I think when you, as a coach, have very little to concern yourself with outside of the game, it is usually a sign of good things to come. This team has a mature approach to everything they do.”

The Pioneers, which lost in nine innings to Olentangy Liberty on Monday to fall to 14-2, have games on tap the rest of the week with Hilliard Davidson, Dublin Coffman and New Albany.

“Playing free and looking at every situation as an opportunity will continue to help us grow as a unit,” Marker said about the keys to success the rest of the season. “Obviously, staying healthy is important. But, as we saw last year (losing two shortstops and an outfielder before the district tournament), connected groups find ways to get things done.”

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