Prep Baseball Report

Division I Regional Preview

By Dylan Hefflinger



Bowling Green/Cleveland Regional

Oregon Clay (12-14) vs. No. 4 Ashland (22-4)

An unlikely match-up featuring Ashland and the surprising Oregon Clay Eagles. Clay has turned an up and down season into an incredible tournament run and looks to continue their success. The Eagles are trying to return to state for only the second time in its history, the lone time coming in 1979 in which they won the whole thing. Ashland has been one of the top teams in the state the entire season, and looks to return to state for the first time since 1936.

Clay features one of the top juniors in the state in hard-throwing righty Jordan Grosjean. Grosjean, a 6-3 junior who has verbally committed to Central Michigan, consistently throws in the upper 80s. Ross Achter, a University of Toledo commit, leads the Eagles at the plate.

Ashland is led by a duo of starters, one left-handed and one right-handed. Stetson recruit Adam Schaly has a 10-0 record with 115 strikeouts in 56 innings and a 0.25 ERA. Northern Kentucky recruit Aric Harris has a 6-1 record, striking out 75 in 48 innings. Offensively Ashland has a team average of .332 at the plate.


No. 33 Cleveland St. Ignatius (20-9) vs. No. 21 Westlake (22-6)

A battle of northeast Ohio elite teams in perennial power Cleveland St. Ignatius and Westlake face off.

Westlake under the direction of Hall of Fame head coach Jeff Short has advanced to district play 12 times in the past 16 seasons, and will be making its third regional appearance since 1996. Short is planning on retiring after coaching the program since 1991. Westlake defeated No. 8 ranked Avon 1-0 in the Lorain district final. Kevin Neumann (2-4) threw a four-hitter, striking out eight.

St. Ignatius head coach Brad Ganor and the Wildcats have made 10 state final-four appearances, including a school-record three in a row under Coach Ganor (2007-08-09). The Wildcats have won six games in a row after defeating No. 36 North Royalton 3-2. St. Ignatius is led by sophomore Nick Longo at the plate, junior Dan Rowbottom and speedy lead-off centerfielder Conor Hennessey. On the mound the Wildcats feature a lot of talent including Matt Hoyer and Marshall University commit Zak Shockley


Canton Regional

No. 14 Chardon (25-3) vs. No. 17 Mayfield (23-4)

Chardon has reached state three times, all prior to 1950, while Mayfield has never got past regionals. Chardon won the Struthers District by defeating Boardman 7-2 and Solon 11-7. Mayfield defeated Willoughby South 4-1 and Mentor to come through the Euclid district. Chardon has had three head coaches this season in winning its first district title. John Mortillotta, a Toledo recruit, is the pitching ace for Chardon, the school that had six students shot, including three killed, back on Feb. 27.

Mayfield has a team batting average of .393, with three batters hitting .471 or higher. Leading the team is junior Mitch Longo who is hitting .553 with 33 runs scored. Senior shortstop Cory Nager is batting .522, scoring 44 runs. Senior catcher Ray Guerrini is hitting .471 with 34 RBI. Matt Iosue is the ace on the mound with a 0.31 ERA, striking out 64 in 45 innings. Longo had the game-winning RBI triple in 5-4 win over Mentor. Drew Teller is top pitcher for Mayfield, seeking to reach the state tournament for the first time in school history.


No. 7 Hudson (24-2) vs. Massillon Perry (16-9)

Hudson defeated No. 12 Brunswick 3-2 to win the Hudson District. The Explorers are led on the mound by junior ace Brian Malerick who has a 10-0 record on the season. Malerick is hoping to lead Hudson and head coach Chuck Shilling to the state tournament. Shilling has announced plans to retire after 37 years as coach. Hudson is looking to make it to state for only the second time in school history, the only one to date coming in 1997.

Although Perry finished second to Boardman in the Federal League, a regional title is still out there after winning the school's first Division I district title with a 6-5 victory over North Canton Hoover. Perry is looking to make it to state for the first time in school history. Three different pitchers Jake Flounders, Tyler Patterson and Gary Lawrence have started tournament games in the last two weeks. Flounders (6-1, 2.37 earned run average) picked up the win in the Panthers sectional opener against Wooster and the district final against Hoover, while Patterson (2-0, 2.15 ERA) got the win in the sectional final against Ellet. Lawrence (3-2, 2.65 ERA) was the winner in the district semifinal against Jackson.


Dublin Regional

No. 15 Lewis Center Olentangy Orange (26-3) vs. No. 35 Thomas Worthington (22-7)

Olentangy Orange has consistently been ranked in the top 50 all year long. Lead by Dayton recruit Luke Wolford, who is the team's shortstop and ace on the mound, the Pioneers have amassed a 27-3 record. With a deep lineup and blend of upperclassmen and underclassmen, Orange has consistently put up solid offensive numbers throughout the season.  The team features three Tiffin recruits: Billy McCague (DH), Cole McCurry (OF), and Anthony Mancini (OF). In addition, juniors Brady Harris and Paul Trick, who hit third and fourth respectively, are big, athletic corner infield prospects with the potential to play Division I baseball.

Thomas Worthington won the school's first district title under Coach Gussler, who is currently undergoing treatment for colon cancer. Coach Gussler has his team playing with the same passion and motivation that he is using in his own personal battle. The Cardinals are a scrappy team that puts pressure on opposing teams by stealing bases, bunting, and executing the hit and run. 6-foot-5, 210-pound sophomore Nick Pauly, who is unbeaten on the year, will likely take the mound in the matchup against Orange. Offensively, the team relies on a pair of talented seniors in shortstop Wes Lindenmuth and Otterbein recruit Dylan Holmes.


No. 1 Grove City (23-2) vs. Lewis Center Olentangy (19-9)

Olentangy Lewis Center has put together a surprising run to reach the regional finals. The squad isn't overpowering, but they simply find a way to get the job done. They are anchored behind the plate by Cincinnati recruit Woody Wallace, who is also the team's biggest offensive threat. Fellow senior Tyler McFarland, who is a Lake Erie recruit, provides a spark at the top of the order while holding down the infield at shortstop. The Braves feature a 1-2 pitching combo of junior Casey Stanley and unsigned, soft-tossing senior Ryan Dubil.

No. 1 Grove City returns to another regional final, but this go around they aren't the underdog. Returning several starters from last year's regional championship team, the Greyhounds feature a roster of seasoned veterans and talented underclassmen. Their roster isn't loaded with big time prospects, but instead, they rely on a close-knit group of hard working, talented athletes. Senior Mitchell Stephens returns as the ace of the staff. The team is strong up the middle with Otterbein recruit Tyler Kent in centerfield, Jimmy Gravitt at shortstop, and standout junior Drew Nankivell behind the plate. Other key contributors include senior IF/RHP Brandon Gooch as well as junior first baseman Drew Artrip.



Cincinnati Regional

No. 2 Cincinnati Archbishop Moeller (22-5) vs. No. 25 Cincinnati Anderson (21-7)

Moeller is a five-time state champion while Anderson claimed its first district title in 10 years. A talented Moeller squad features such hitters as junior Spencer Iacovone (.413, 4 HR) and sophomore Ohio State verbal commit Zack Shannon (.329, 3 HR). Catcher Bradley Macciochhi (Wright State), Jordan Simpson (Furman), junior Cameron Whitehead and outfielders Ryan LeFevers (.360) and Nick Edwards (Ashland) are other standouts in the Moeller lineup. Brian Burkhart is 8-1 with a 0.95 ERA to lead a deep staff that includes John Tanner (4-0, 1.83 ERA, Ohio U football) and Zach Williams (5-0, 1.97 ERA, Bellarmine).

Bela Perler (6-2, 2.83 ERA), a 6-6 225-pound Northern Kentucky recruit who threw a one-hitter in the district finals, and Nick Mason (3-1, 1.28 ERA) headline the Anderson pitching staff. Unsigned senior left-handed hitting Ben Lemaster has hit five home runs for Anderson while hitting a team-high .360 for the Fort Ancient Valley Conference champions that start two sophomores in the infield, third baseman Cory Peterson and second baseman Cody Riley.


No. 16 Cincinnati Elder (22-8) vs. No. 42 Vandalia Butler (20-11)

Elder, a state participant 20 times and state champion eight times, has relied on some potent sticks this year with David Haley (.449), Anthony Asalon (.387, University of Indianapolis) and Tyler Trame (.381) leading the way. Joe Ramsetter, a 6-4 junior right-hander, and Chris Auer (5-0) are pitchers being counted on.

Vandalia-Butler features 6-10 right-hander Taylore Cherry (9-1, 0.86 ERA), the North Carolina signee rated second in Ohio in the 2012 class. Peter Yorgen hit a bases-loaded single in the top of the seventh to snap a 1-1 tie and give V-B a 2-1 win over Mason in the district finals. Vandalia, which won despite leaving 12 runners on base, got the final out on a fake throw to second base with infielders diving for a throw while Cherry ran toward the runner for the third out. Kevin Brackman (.529), Dan Link (.495), Lance Straley (.495), senior lead-off hitter Austin Craine (.456) and Yorgen (.425) are some of the key cogs for a team hitting .440 on the season.