MARION – Pleasant’s baseball team has picked up where it left off last season despite the loss of some firepower at the plate and on the mound.
The Spartans entered Wednesday’s action with an 8-0 mark in the Mid Ohio Athletic Conference Red Division. They won the division last season with a 9-3 record.
They are 12-5 overall after going 17-10 a season ago as a district qualifier.
They’ve done well this season even without the services of the graduated Janik Tackett (shortstop/pitcher), Scott Foster (third baseman/pitcher), Tristen Knight (pitcher), Kaden Horn (outfielder/designated hitter) and Aaron Langhorne (outfielder).
“We have most of our position players back, but we have inexperience in our pitching,” said coach Chris Kubbs. “Defense and pitching will be key for us.”
Kubbs is now 382-149 in 20 seasons at Pleasant and 462-181 in 25 seasons overall.
Senior outfielder/pitcher Kyle Galyk also returned to form this spring. A year ago he hit .500 with 28 RBIs, four home runs and 12 doubles.
This season he is hovering near the .500 mark again and has batted in 21 runs.
Another veteran, senior first baseman/pitcher Tyler Axline, is back from a .300 season with 16 RBIs.
The other letter winners are senior catcher/pitcher Anson James, senior outfielder Cade Lawrence, senior second baseman/pitcher Bryce McDonald, senior shortstop/pitcher Dustin Sites, senior third baseman Matt Gabriel, junior third baseman/catcher/pitcher Bryce Pytlarz and sophomore outfielder/pitcher Zach Pytlarz.
McDonald was 5-2 pitching with a 3.11 earned run average last season while Zach Pytlarz was 1-1.
Junior Chase Ambrose (third baseman/catcher) has also helped out this spring.
Pleasant is 5-6 after a 10-0 win over Galion on Tuesday.
A year ago, the Lady Spartans went 11-13 overall and 5-7 in the MOAC for third-year coach Bryan Decker (22-26).
Gone from that club are Corinne Corbin (.314, 19 RBIs), Bailee Mauk, Emily Sayre and Bekkah Slob (.375, 19 RBIs).
Nine letter winners have been producing well this spring.
Those veterans are seniors Taylor Chase (.300), Maria Curren, Allison Decker (.250), Hannah McQuistion (.240), Abigail Russell (.385), Georgie Stacy (.370, 15 RBIs) and Ashley Stone; junior Adriana Stanford; and sophomore Catie Pelfrey (.361).
Also helping out have been senior Sara Kelly, junior Arielle Anderson and freshman Brook Flickinger.
“We have veteran leadership at key positions, positive attitudes, and motivation,” Decker said. “We do have a few question marks at new positions, and we are not as deep at some position as we were in years past.”
Pleasant was 5-8 a year ago but lost to graduation Ian Kieffer (8-12), Heath Marvin (3-9) and David Schuring (6-12).
Third-year coach Ed Vaflor (14-14) does return seniors Christian Vaflor (12-8), Garrett Coppler (7-10), Chris Wiley (5-7), Zac Haverfield (0-1), Grant Wilson (6-10) and Allen Zhang (8-12) along with sophomore Drayson Campbell (0-1).
Christian Vaflor was 36-21 over the last three seasons and second seeded in the sectional tournament. Wilson, Campbell and Wiley have shown improvement, and Coppler, Zhang and Haverfield are seeing more time this spring.
“We want to enjoy the moment, maintain a positive attitude, and learn more about the game,” coach Vaflor said. “We have an experienced team but not a lot of depth.”
Third-year coach Aaron Cook has back the services of three competitors who fared well in the postseason a year ago.
Senior Kyle Galyk, who also plays baseball, was a state finalist in the 100 and 200 and set school records in both with 10.6 second and 21.6, respectively. Senior Justin McCurdy was fifth in the 400 regional finals and in the 4×200 relay and 4×400 relay. Junior Nico Sansotta was a district qualifier in the 400, 4×200 relay and 4×400 relay.
“Sprinting will be our strong point,” Cook said. “We have built this program back up and will have really high numbers and depth in each event, which is highly important in May and June.”
Weight thrower Zac Irons was lost to graduation.
Rich Nelson, who has coached for 19 years, lost mid distance and relays runner Emily Ward and MOAC discus champion Abbi Davis from last season’s MOAC Red Division championship squad to graduation.
Three regional qualifiers—Hannah Peltier, Kamryn Queen and Lydia DePrey—are back.
Peltier and Queen both ran on the regional fifth-place-finishing 4×800 relay while DePrey won the conference 100 hurdles title and competed in the regional in that event. Queen was also seventh in the regional in the 400 and is the school record holder in the event at 59.47.
The other letter winners are senior Boston Osborne (distances); juniors Ciera Greene (sprints), Kaitlyn Massey (sprints), Jaden Mauk (sprints) and Madison Wells (weights); and sophomores Alexis Kowalczyk (distances), Valentina Martin (mid distances), Alli Ward (sprints, pole vault, long jump) and Madison Williams (hurdles, sprints).
“We have good numbers and a lot of returning experience,” Nelson said. “We need to avoid injuries as we strive toward our goals of a Red Division championship and advancing athletes to the regional and state meets.”