Before he and the Cincinnati Steam took a few days off for the Independence Day holiday, Trey Ganns was part of a county reunion on the baseball diamond.
Ganns, a 2014 Boone County High School graduate, is a first-year member of the Steam, which is part of the Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League. Also on the team is Hunter Dunn, a 2014 graduate of Cooper High School. On July 2 and 3, the Steam played the Hamilton Joes, which has Conner graduate Cameron Ross on its pitching staff.
The county trio were three of the top high school pitchers in Northern Kentucky during the 2014 season, and they were a big part of the action on the first game of the two-game series between the teams. Dunn was the starting pitcher for the Steam, and he had a rough game giving up five runs in five innings in an eventual 8-5 loss to the Joes. Ross came in relief in the seventh and picked up the win. Ganns had one hit and two walks, scoring a run and driving in one, and grounded out in his lone at-bat against Ross.
“It was really cool,” Ganns said. “Those two guys, I played with in summer ball. It’s awesome we’re able to proceed in our college careers and play together. We’re all good friends and it’s fun getting to play against each other.”
Ganns has been a centerpiece of the Steam offense in his first year with the club, which plays its home games at Cincinnati Western Hills High School. He is third on the team with a .342 batting average and leads the team with two home runs and 14 RBI. He has also started one game on the mound.
“It’s been pretty cool,” he said. “We’re new guys, we didn’t know who each other were, but as time has gone on, we’ve been able to warm up to each other. Every time I go up to bat, I look for a pitch I can hit hard. When there’s a job to get done, getting a runner over, I try to stay focused and help my team win.”
The Steam have been off to a rough start, 7-14 through July 5.
“We’re pretty resilient,” Ganns said. “We haven’t started out like we wanted to, but we all know what we’re capable of. We all have the same goal of making the league tournament and we’re all really focused on that.”
Ganns, the Ninth Region player of the year as a senior, was 8-2 on the mound with a 1.70 ERA. In his first season at NKU, he started 45 games and was third on the team with a .296 batting. He was tied for second on the team with four home runs and drove in a team-high 25 RBI. He also pitched 11 total innings for the Norse in nine appearances.
“You don’t see one pitch all of the time,” he said. “The speed of the game is completely different. I learned from my older teammates and I tried to follow in their footsteps and be the best players I could be.”
Playing as a freshman in college requires a lot of adjustments, and the Norse will have more next year when they play in the Horizon League, where they just moved to from the southern-based Atlantic Sun. NKU was 17-34 overall.
“I’m actually excited,” Ganns said. “I think we can make noise in this conference. We’re the most southern school in the conference and we have a good recruiting strategy there. I think we’re extremely close as a team. Some schools have their freshmen got picked on a lot, but as soon as we came in, they treated us well and welcomed us. We had great chemistry and it was a fun time.”
Dunn has started four games and has two wins and a 4.03 ERA. Ross has pitched in nine relief appearances with two wins and a 2.25 ERA for the Joes, who are 17-7. They are eligible to be drafted in the Major League Baseball entry process after their junior seasons in two years.
“That’s a goal,” Ganns said. “I would love to play at the next level. I’m taking advice from all my coaches and working on what I need to work on so I can get that opportunity.”
Ganns’ senior-year team was 18-6 and won the 33rd District a year before during his junior season.
“That was my favorite one because we were going up against a really talented Ryle team,” Ganns said. “We had a lot of chemistry and it was nice to see the seniors win a district championship.”
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