Prep Baseball Report

Division I Team Of The Week: Week 6 - Olentangy

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 6 - Olentangy

OLENTANGY - Olentangy followed up three big wins over Thomas Worthington, Marysville and St. Charles last week with a 7-2 victory over Dublin Jerome on Monday to win an outright OCC title for the first time since 2017. It also brings recognition as the Prep Baseball Report Division I Team of the Week.

“I really like our mentality,” head coach Ryan Lucas said. “A lot of our players have developed into high-level guys. Austin Sizemore is one of the better players in the state and we have a bunch of other guys that have gotten a lot better from last year.

“We lost a lot of one-run games last year that we’re now winning. Having 10 seniors helps with that. They’re all having a blast and are really good kids. They're fun to be around and, of course, it’s more fun when you’re winning.”

The 10th-year head coach credits a strong pitching staff for a 20-3 record after the win over Jerome.

“Our pitching is elite,” noted Lucas, whose squad has a 1.77 team ERA. “It’s the best staff I’ve had. With pitching and good defense, if you swing it enough you win games. I really like the balance we have and how we play.”

Sizemore, “the best player I’ve ever coached,” according to Lucas, is the staff ace with junior Brady Beaumont number two. Senior Tommy Chilicki, a Wittenberg commit, is the three with junior Vitaly DiBlasi number four. Senior Carter Williamson, a Walsh recruit, handles middle relief.

“What we’re really good at is throwing strikes and not walking guys,” pointed out Lucas, whose Braves are rated fifth in the state in Division I. “We’re good at pounding the zone and pitching to contact and our team defense is good.”

Leadoff hitter Bradon Hire, a Walsh commit, is the shortstop with fellow senior Jackson Christman at second base batting .424. Chilicki, who is hitting .406, is at third base with Sizemore playing first, third and short depending on who is on the mound. Right fielder Nathan Holycross is another standout with a team-high .438 batting average.

“Some of these guys I knew were really good players but I felt their confidence level was not there,” Lucas explained. “Now they’re playing with confidence. A lot of them didn’t play a ton last year but they’ve developed into really good baseball players.”

Catcher Zander Held and center fielder Aiden O’Brien are others making major contributions for the OCC-Buckeye Division champions.

“Winning the league is special,” Lucas said. “We had a stretch where we won it three years in a row but then they built Berlin and we went into a rebuilding stage. It’s gratifying to win it with all the work we’ve put in the last three years to get back to where we used to be.”

The hope now is to follow that title up with a strong tournament run.

“We’ve got to be able to hit it,” Lucas related. “I feel we have the pitching and team defense and I’ve seen we have the caliber to hit to go all the way. We’re balanced enough. But can we hit it and get the big two-out hits?”

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