BETHEL – Many hats are involved in being a high school baseball coach. All in one day a prep skipper can go from field maintenance to head custodian, school administrator, father figure and head coach.
In his second year at Bethel-Tate High School, Dion Pangallo can tell you about it.
On April 11, after a week of torrential downpours, Pangallo was at the school at 7 a.m. trying to get the baseball field in shape for a doubleheader that began at noon with Northwest. He worked nearly up until game time with a tractor and rake hoping to get a few uninterrupted innings in the books.
“About five hours,” Pangallo said of his pre-game prep. “The rain’s really not helping anybody getting any games in. You can’t get any consistency in your team. It’s been kind of tough.”
Most of the Tristate has been in the same boat. On some fields, it looked like a boat was needed earlier this month.
Finally, after a morning of work, the sun began to beat down and the Tigers were able to get a pair in against Northwest. Unfortunately, they lost both 8-2 and 6-4. It made for a rough weekend as they had fell short against Southern Buckeye Conference rival Amelia the night before, 11-6.
“A couple calls could’ve gone a different way and we would have come out on top,” Pangallo said. “Amelia’s always a good competitor. Them having nine seniors helps them out a whole bunch.”
Bethel-Tate has just three seniors with Noah Kilgore and catcher Logan Sicurella starting. Among his starting nine are five sophomores.
Kilgore and Sicurella have been his top hitters along with juniors Travis Kinnard and Tanner Colwell. The Tigers have also got some home run punch from junior Austin Bohl. They plated 21 runs against Felicity-Franklin for a win, but scored nine against Georgetown and 11 against Clermont Northeastern and still came up short.
So far, it’s been the price of youth. On the upside, many are receiving valuable playing time that should help their baseball maturity. Some have had to answer the bell on the mound early.
“We’ve had a lot of help from Jake Stolz, who’s a sophomore this year and Austin Bohl,” Pangallo said.
The Tigers have had some memorable experiences on fields Pangallo has not had to maintain. They were in the A.J. Cohen Memorial against Cincinnati Country Day on Summit Country Day’s turf April 18. They also were a part of the Reds Futures Showcase at the end of March, playing the opening game against Reading.
While the game didn’t go as planned, the Tigers were able to play at the MLB Urban Youth Academy in Roselawn.
“It was awesome,” Pangallo said. “It’s always a good experience there because they treat you like gold. I wish it had been a little warmer.”
As the spring weather eventually warms, Pangallo hopes his team does as well. In the meantime, he’s learning how to balance his time between grounds crew duties, making out the line-up card and seeing that the umpires get paid.
“It’s always tight,” Pangallo said smiling. “When you’re on a tight budget, it’s always tight.”
Ahead on the menu are rematches with Felicity-Franklin (April 22), CNE (April 23) and Batavia (April 25). The Tigers also get a crack at Williamsburg April 29.
“Williamsburg and Blanchester I think are going to be our two big workhorses this year to go against,” Pangallo said. “We’re a young team, but we have young, good athletes.”