Prep Baseball Report

Division III Team Of The Week: Week 1 and 2 - Ottawa Hills

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

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Division III Team Of The Week: Week 1 and 2 - Ottawa Hills

OTTAWA HILLS - Three impressive run-rule wins has Ottawa Hills now at 5-1 on the season and the honor of being the Prep Baseball Report Division III Team of the Week.

“We’ve been getting good pitching, but I expected that,” related veteran coach Chris Hardman. “We returned all of our pitching from last year so we knew we had that going in.”

An 11-1 win over Toledo Central Catholic was followed by 10-0 victories over Rossford and Sylvania Northview this past week.

“We were able to hit the ball enough to create base runners and make things happen,” explained the 42nd-year head coach. “I don’t make too much about how much we win by, it’s baseball and on any given day you can get beat. Right now we’re playing at a high level in all phases of the game but you don’t win championships in April.”

Good players will win games, however, and the Green Bears have that.

“I’ve never had six guys in one class go on to play college baseball,” Hardman said. “I feel fortunate about that.”

One is pitcher Jack Genzman, a Bluffton commit who beat Rossford after losing his other start 4-2 in the season opener to Division I power Toledo St. John’s. Alex and Andy Nemunaitis are others that pitch and will go on to play in college, both at Wittenberg. Alex is 2-0, allowing one run in four innings against Central and throwing four shutout innings versus Northview. Alex also plays shortstop while Andy pitches and plays second.

Also headed to play at the next level are pitcher Adam Hamilton to Case Western, pitcher Warren Goik to Rose-Holman and catcher Blake Gnepper to SUNY Maritime College in New York.

“All six are four-year lettermen and I couldn’t be prouder of them,” Hardman said. “They’ve done everything a coach could ask.”

There have been no standouts in particular at the plate for the fourth-rated Division III team in Ohio, according to Hardman.

“To this point our offense is about balance one through nine,” Hardman said. “There are no eye-popping stats individually, it’s kids that have just risen to the challenge and believe in quality at-bats. So much in baseball is about timely hitting and we’ve been able to do that.

“We scored 31 runs in three games with guys that got no home runs. It’s nothing spectacular, just sufficient.”

One surprise thus far in the eyes of Hardman is junior Jack Eidenier, who plays second base and shortstop.

“He’s been versatile on defense which has allowed us to pitch Alex and he’s been an offensive producer,” Hardman said.

A tough schedule ahead finds Ottawa Hills hosting unbeaten Marlington, the fourth-ranked team in D-II, on Friday before taking on Lincolnview, the sixth-rated D-IV team in the state, in the PBR High School Classic at Defiance on Saturday.

“We beefed up our schedule so much, I like to think we won’t get one,” Hardman said when asked about pitching a no-hitter. “We were really good last year but ran into (Joseph) Dzierwa of Otsego in the tournament and he was better than we were that day. So we designed our schedule to deal with good people every day.”

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