Prep Baseball Report

Division II Team Of The Week: Week 6 - Tri-Valley

Bruce Hefflinger
Ohio Senior Writer

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Division II Team Of The Week: Week 6 - Tri-Valley

NEW PHILADELPHIA - Five wins by eight runs or more has Tri-Valley claiming the Muskingum Valley League Big School Division championship with a 16-0 record.

It also has Tyler McGee’s squad earning recognition as the Prep Baseball Division II Team of the Week.

“Our outlook entering the season was that our starting pitching was going to keep us in games and carry us throughout the year,” related McGee, whose team is now 19-2 on the season after beating John Glenn 5-0 on Monday. “If we could get consistent quality at-bats and put the ball in play with two strikes, we knew we had a chance to be successful this year. Our staff and the players talked all off-season about the two-strike approach and getting the big hit in big games and so far we have.”

This past week Tri-Valley blanked Maysville 10-0 on Monday and 9-0 on Tuesday, defeated Ridgewood 12-3 on Wednesday, topped West Muskingum 10-2 on Thursday and closed out the week with an 8-0 shutout of Meadowbrook.

Brady Kaufman, the 26th-rated junior pitcher in Ohio, fanned eight in five innings of one-hit pitching on Monday before junior RHP Gavin Harrold threw six one-hit frames with four Ks a night later. Senior Nathan Better led the way at the plate with a single, double, triple and two RBIs and then added three singles on Wednesday.

Kyler Brennen allowed four hits in six innings with six strikeouts against West Muskingum before Kaufman returned to the mound for a second one-hitter of the week, fanning 15. The junior standout also had two hits including a three-run homer.

“What has really stood out so far this year is the senior leadership and the numbers our pitching staff has put up,” explained McGee, whose pitchers have combined for a 0.35 ERA, fanning 195 and walking 48. “Our seniors have kept everyone laser focused and reminding them that there is more work to do.”

Kaufman has not permitted an earned run in 31 innings, winning all six decisions with 62 strikeouts and just four walks. Harrold is 5-1 with a 0.17 ERA, fanning 56 and walking 17 in 41 innings. Junior Cade Hindel is 2-0 with a 0.55 ERA, recording 13 Ks and four saves with four walks in 12.2 innings while Brennen is 4-1 with a 0.81 ERA, throwing 34.2 frames with 38 Ks and 15 free passes.

Kaufman, Harold and Hindel also lead the way at the plate. Kaufman has a .313 average, five doubles, one triple and one home run with 16 RBIs, Harrold is hitting .348 with four doubles, one home run and 20 RBIs and Hindel is batting .327 with a double, triple and 13 RBIs.

Junior catcher Kian Drummonds has a .333 average with two doubles and 12 RBIs, sophomore outfielder Ryan Lamonica has driven in 14 runs with a .324 average and two doubles while senior outfielder Ashton Sensibaugh is hitting .290 with three doubles, one homer and 14 RBIs.

“What has surprised our staff the most this year is the focus and killer instinct our kids have played with,” noted McGee. “We talked before and during the season about being the tougher team and finding a way to get the job done. Every kid has bought into their role, which has led to the success we are having right now.”

After beating John Glenn on Monday, the seventh-rated D-II team in Ohio has games ahead this week against Big Walnut and Newark.

“The key to continuing our success this year is to be locked in on every pitch and keep the same mentality we have all year,” McGee said. “When you get to this time of the year, everyone you play is good and if you let up at all your season can be over. We have a group of kids that have put a lot of time in since the winter and we look forward to seeing what we can do in the postseason.”

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