Prep Baseball Report

Division III Team Of The Week: Week 5 - Eastwood

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 5 - Eastwood

PEMBERVILLE - Six shutout victories in one week. The opposition has been outscored 170-13 for the year. The season record is 17-0 after a win on Monday.

It has been quite a start to the season for Eastwood, the Prep Baseball Report Division III Team of the Week.

“We have really great team speed and it shows on the field,” head coach Kevin Leady said in pointing to a defensive fielding percentage of .950 as another impressive stat with the 2022 Eagles.

It starts up the middle with four-year starters Andrew Arnston, a Lourdes commit, at catcher, Isaac Cherry at second base and Lake Boos, a Northwood football recruit at quarterback, in center field.

“We’ve really built ourselves up the middle with those guys,” noted Leady, pointing to junior shortstop Case Boos as another valuable player on the top-rated D-III team in the state. “Maybe the best defensive player on the team is Jordan Pickerel at first base. He’s saved games for us.”

But strong pitching can not be overlooked, especially after blanking six opponents last week highlighted by 6-0 and 3-0 league wins over Genoa and Rossford, respectively, and a 10-0 victory over Division I power Toledo St. John’s.

“It has exceeded our expectations,” Leady admitted. “Our guys work ahead and throw all their pitches for strikes. We say to them attack. We believe we have the best defense we’ve had in my 12 years here. In looking at the stats, that’s happening.”

In 90 innings, Eastwood pitchers have allowed 47 hits and 44 walks with a 1.00 WHIP and team ERA of 0.70.

Staff ace Lake Boos is 3-0 with a 1.37 ERA, fanning 34 in four starts on the mound for a team that has had five pitchers throw 14 innings plus to date. Junior Ethan Rapp has not permitted an earned run in a 4-0 start to the season with 36 Ks in 21.2 innings while Jackson Bauer, another junior, is 3-0 with a 0.538 ERA. Sophomore Andrew Badenhop, who is also 3-0, adds depth to the staff along with senior Toby Marten and junior Jarod Bonfiglio.

“Everything comes back to our guys on the mound,” Leady explained. “The message to our pitchers is that the tempo starts with you. Limit the free outs.”

The Eagles feature eight players batting .300 or better with a team average of .351. Bauer leads the way at .486 with Case Boos hitting .452 with 30 runs scored and 24 stolen bases. Pickerel is averaging .438 and Lake Boos .426 for the Eagles and head coach Leady, who points to last season as beneficial in 2022.

“Last year we had to have a lot of conversations with our guys,” Leady related. “Coming off Covid they were almost like freshmen. They played travel ball but it’s not the same, the feel is different. It’s all about the team for our guys.

“Last year’s experience being in the district finals and winning (2-1 over Minster) and then facing Miller  and having failure in the regionals is valuable,” Leady added in reference to losing 4-1 to Liberty Union and star pitcher Jacob Miller, the top-rated 2022 in Ohio. “The experience from those times, I hope, comes into play this year.”

The Eastwood head coach understands the difficulty of making a long tournament run in baseball.

“The moment the focus fades, you’re going to get beat,” Leady said. “We talk about focusing on the next game. They only worry about today, not sectionals or districts. They worry about who we’re playing today. Treat every day like we’re 0-0.

“Get better every day and hope at the end of May and beginning of June we’re playing our best and then let the chips fall where they may.”

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