Prep Baseball Report

Division III Team Of The Week: Week 4 - Liberty Union

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 4 - Liberty Union

BALTIMORE - With the top-rated senior in the state, Liberty Union certainly has an ace in the hole.

But Jacob Miller appears to have a lot of help on the mound this season for an unbeaten team that is the Prep Baseball Report Division III Team of the Week.

“If you want to win league, district and state titles you’ve got to control the game from the mound,” explained Liberty Union head coach Justin Miller, no relation to his star player. “We’ve had three seniors throw a lot of innings and a junior has also stepped up.”

Senior Jon Wheeler, who won the district championship game last season, is 4-0 with a 1.59 ERA in 22 innings as the number two hurler on the team. Junior Colton Hutchison is the number three pitcher with a 3-0 record and 0.87 ERA in 16 innings while senior John Edwards is the closer for a team led by Miller, a Louisville commit.

The hard-throwing right-hander, who has topped at 97 and consistently throws 92-96, is 3-0 with one save in 21 innings on the hill this season, allowing 10 hits and five walks with 46 strikeouts and a 0.66 ERA. Opponents are hitting .135 against the eighth-ranked 2022 right-handed pitcher in the nation.

But Miller has done more than just pitch well this season. On Friday, Miller came in and picked up a save in a suspended game he started and hit a home run before coming back in the nightcap to throw a three-hitter with 16 Ks, hit a homer and score both runs in a 2-0 victory. On Saturday, Miller hit a home run and two doubles to move his season average to .378 with four homers while passing the 20-RBI mark.

Wheeler, a shortstop when not pitching, leads the team at .514 with junior leadoff hitter Cayden Carroll, a second baseman, at .465 just seven months off an ACL. Edwards, who bats second, is batting .375 while playing center field in addition to filling in at short when Wheeler pitches.

Senior Austin Ety is the key to the team according to the Liberty Union coach, with just one error at catcher while averaging .344 at the dish.

“He handles our staff which speaks for itself,” the Liberty Union mentor said. “Jake’s the best player on the team, but Austin is the most important.”

Sophomore left fielder Ian Wilson along with senior first baseman Trevor Wood and freshman brother Cam Wood are other contributors.

“We’ve had so many different guys step up in games for us this year, either with a big hit or big play,” Miller pointed out.

It has the third-ranked Division III team in the state hoping to make it one step further than a year ago when the Lions advanced to the regional finals before being ousted by Archbold.

“With our pitching and Austin Ety behind the plate, we feel we can dictate and control the game,” Miller said. “The key for us is not being complacent and continuing to do what got us to this point. We believe if we play our best game we can beat anybody. We just have to keep pitching, keep executing offensively and keep picking everybody up.

“This is the first group I’ve had for four years. We’ve wanted to be in this position and now there’s a target on our back. Ultimately the end goal is to win state so this is good for us to be in pressure situations with every game.”

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