Brandon Peters and Jonny Wilson have some catching up to do as far as baseball conditioning for the Tri-Village baseball team.
Head coach Jim Maples doesn’t mind too much, though; the pair had a pretty good reason for doing so.
“You like to have them practice with you and stuff but the kids are used to winning and that goes a long way too,” Maples said of the duo who helped the Tri-Village boys basketball team win the Ohio Division IV state championship last Saturday.
“We’ve had success in the past and that’s helped us out, as soon as we get into baseball shape.”
The Patriots are hoping to carry the success over, both from that and from last year’s sectional championship baseball team, as the Ohio baseball season opens up this week.
Maples’ 24th season as head coach and 27th overall kicks off with Thursday’s home game opposite Covington.
The Patriots finished 13-15 last year, falling to Cincinnati Country Day 10-2 in the district title game after defeating Bethel 4-3 for the sectional title.
Tyler Cook, Justin Royer and Craig Swartz have graduated, but the Patriots return a mix of experience and youth.
The roster consists of just two seniors, Brent Hager and Trent Laux. Peters, Tanner Maples and Jordan Buckley are juniors, Wilson, Jordan Midlam and Luke Wheeler are sophomores and Camron Munchel, Christian Ricker, Jared Buckley and Trey Frech are freshmen.
Hager, Buckley, Wilson, Laux and Ricker are expected to anchor the pitching staff.
“The younger kids have been pleasantly surprising,” Maples said. “Pitchers have thrown strikes, we’ve played good defense and as early as it is and as young as we are, I’ve been pleasantly surprised.”
Eaton takes to its new baseball diamond at the high school with second-year head coach Keltavious Jones at the helm.
The Eagles return senior Cole Howard, an All-SWBL player, who plays first base. Sophomore pitchers Donald Nicodemus and Trevor Pittman are expected to lead the mound corp.
“I think our team should do pretty well in the Southwestern Buckeye League; I think Bellbrook is probably the favorite, and we are a pretty young team,” Jones said. “I think we have really good talent, and I think if we play good, fundamental defense, we can have a good season.”
Dusty Thompson is the new head varsity baseball coach at National Trail, and 19 players are competing for spots on the Blazer team.
Returning for Trail are seniors Charley Watts, Jesse Sheets, Kyle Johnson, Garrett Griffin, Nick Carpenter and Robert Bishop. Other Blazer hopefuls are Michael Bane, Logan Petitt and Billy Lanman.
The Trail team was scheduled to open regular season play Monday at home against Dayton Christian.