Division I Team Of The Week: Week 3 - Moeller

Bruce Hefflinger and Dylan Hefflinger
PBR Ohio Senior Writer and Editor in Chief/NW Scout

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Division I Team Of The Week: Week 3 - Moeller

CINCINNATI - Is this the year the “drought” ends for Moeller?

The school with the third most state championships and sixth most state appearances has not been to the Final Four since 2015 when the Crusaders won their fifth state title in a dozen years. A 9-0 start to the 2022 season has Moeller the top-rated team in the state and the Prep Baseball Report Division I Team of the Week.

“It’s always a goal at Moeller,” head coach Tim Held said about making it to state. “We’re off to a good start and the kids are talking about it, but the tourney is really tricky in Ohio. There has to be some luck involved. Our focus right now is to be at our best so we can be ready for any situation in the tournament.” 

There were three wins in Myrtle Beach last week, 5-3 over Christian Brothers (N.J.), 7-1 over West Forsyth (N.C.) and 10-3 over Forbush (N.C.), before returning to Ohio for a 4-3 victory over Hilliard Darby. There have now been wins over teams from four different states, with Moeller opening the season with a 10-1 triumph over Grosse Pointe South in Michigan.

“We’ve seen some top-level talented teams,” Held noted. “We faced Lebanon’s top arm and then down south against Christian Brothers we faced a pitcher going to Tulane and against Forsyth a North Carolina pitcher.”

A pair of juniors, Charlie Niehaus, a Cincinnati commit, and CJ Richard, an Ohio State commit, have led the way at the plate batting .429 and .423, respectively, with Richard driving in 13 runs. George Mason commit Toby Hueber is hitting .375 and Zach Carty .364 while Nate Earley and Clay Burdette, a pair of Ohio State commits, are both averaging .357.

“Hueber and Richard at the top of our lineup have led our team,” Held said. “It makes it easy when guys get on base and you pitch well.”

Griff Cody, a Winona State commit, has a team-best eight RBIs. while Hueber, Earley and Blane Schmitt have each driven in six. Niehaus, Richard and Wright State recruit Nate Manley have all hit home runs.

Richard has scored 11 runs, Hueber 10, Conner Christensen, an Air Force recruit, nine, Niehaus eight and Earley seven. Hueber leads the team in stolen bases with 13 while Richard has 11 for a team that averages better than six swipes a game with 56 stolen bases on the season.

“Our team speed is tremendous,” the Moeller coach related. “It’s always a big part of our game.”

Hueber has a 3-0 record on the mound with a 2.18 ERA while Lafayette signee Max Tramontane is 2-0 with a 0.84 ERA, fanning 31 in a team-high 16.2 innings. Those two are at the top of the rotation pitching against league foes, with Tramontane throwing a no-hitter at LaSalle back on April 4..

Nate Gaerke is also 2-0 with a team-high five appearances while not allowing an earned run in 11.2 frames while Burdette stands 2-0 with a 2.42 ERA. Carson Marsh picked up the save against Darby with one inning of one-hit shutout ball, the third save of the year in five outings on the mound for the Wright State commit, who is slated to get his first start of the season this week, weather permitting.

A pair of games with St. Xavier, and weekend contests with Badin and Dublin Scioto are on tap this week for Moeller.

“We have a lot of veterans back that logged a lot of at-bats and innings on the mound last season that has allowed us to succeed early in the season,” Held said. “We’ve had contributions up and down the lineup.

“Pitching is key number one,” Held added in looking ahead at the potential of making a tournament run. “We need to find starters that will give us four, five, six good innings and then relief is really another big key.

“Our hitters also need to give us good at-bats. We’ve been challenged a lot so far so we feel that will help out guys be ready to handle any left-hander or right-hander we see in the league and in the tournament.”

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