Prep Baseball Report

Division IV Team Of The Week: Week 4 - Toronto

Bruce Hefflinger
Michigan Senior Writer

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Division IV Team Of The Week: Week 4 - Toronto

TORONTO - Even a strong schedule has not deterred success thus far for Toronto, the Prep Baseball Division IV Team of the Week.

“We try to create a very challenging schedule,” pointed out head coach Brian Perkins, the successful head coach in a program that won state in 1998 and 2019, also making the Final 4 in 1987 and 2017. “We want to challenge the kids so they’re prepared come tournament time.”

After wins over Morgantown Trinity 4-1, River 12-1 and Wellsville 21-2, the Red Knights defeated Division II Akron Norton 6-2 last week.

“Our pitching performances have stood out,” explained Perkins, who has been in charge of the program since 2005. “We returned our complete staff from last year and we’re pitching well, pounding the zone, and that’s keeping us in games.”

Dominic Bouscher did not allow an earned run in throwing a four-hitter against Trinity, striking out 12 and walking two. Aiddn Filby gave up one run on four hits in five innings versus River and, after three pitchers combined on a four-hitter against Wellsville, Blake Close tossed a two-hitter, giving up one earned run in beating Norton.

“Blake threw an excellent game against a very good team,” noted Perkins. “He had command of all his pitches.”

Close, a 6-4 185-pound senior committed to Malone, is now 4-0 on the season with a 1.75 ERA while Chase Derrington is 3-0 with a 2.44 ERA. Bouscher stands 2-1 with a 1.23 ERA and Filby is 2-0 with a 0.49 ERA.

“We returned our entire staff,” related Perkins, who lost just two seniors from a 2023 team that finished 23-7, losing to Berlin Hiland in the district semifinals. “We always have high expectations and want to go deep in the tournament. We know we’re going to get everyone’s best every night out, but our guys are up for the challenge. We wouldn’t want it any other way.”

Nobody is up for the challenge more than Bouscher, the third-rated 2024 outfielder in Ohio who is headed to play at Central Michigan next year. The speedy senior had a phenomenal week at the plate going 10-10 with three doubles, two triples, two home runs and 14 RBIs, upping his season batting average to .629.

Freshman brother Drake Bouscher, a left-handed hitting left fielder and first baseman, is carrying a .440 average with Russ Dickinson at .429 and Close at .417 for a team that is ranked second in the state in D-IV.

“I love the way this team stays prepared and motivated,” Perkins said. “They attack every day as a way to get better. This group finds a way to stay locked in.”

With defending state champion Berlin Hiland, the seventh-rated team in the state, again in the same district, challenges remain in the future.

“If we get good pitching and play solid defensively we can be in every game,” Perkins concluded. “If we continue to pound the zone and play good defense, hopefully we will be successful.”

More challenges are on tap this week, which began with a loss on Monday to a Class A team in West Virginia. Toronto faces Monroe Central and then D-II Buckeye Local before closing out the week with a game against Williamstown, the top-rated team in Class A, the biggest division in West Virginia.

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