Division IV Regional Preview

By Dylan Hefflinger


Hamler Regional

No. 19 Ottawa Hills (23-5) vs. No. 8 Leipsic (24-3)

Ottawa Hills makes its 15th regional appearance against a Leipsic team that beat nemesis Delphos St. John's 1-0 in the district finals. Veteran coach Chris Hardman is in his 32nd year at the helm of Ottawa Hills and has another strong team at 23-5. Eckerd College (FL) recruit Adam Moreau is hitting .500 while junior catcher Will Longthorne is at .431. Joe Mackey (9-1) and Judoh Wollenburg (5-1) are the top pitchers for the TAAC champions.

Leipsic, which failed to make it to regionals during a 23-1 season a year ago, will take a 24-3 mark into regionals. Senior twins Travis and Trevor Schroeder are a combined 13-0 with ERAs of 0.74 and 1.47, respectively. Junior Devin Mangas is hitting .419 with 35 RBI.


No. 2 Defiance Tinora (25-3) vs. Gibsonburg (21-7)

A matchup of the top two ranked teams in Division IV failed to materialize after Gibsonburg surprised top-rated Hopewell-Loudon 5-2 in the district finals. Logan Jones and Dylan Dorfmeyer give the Golden Bears solid arms for a 21-7 team that has outscored four tourney foes 30-4. Lead-off hitter Gage Beaber, the shortstop, is batting .436 while Andrew Cantrell  is at .439.

Defiance Tinora is back at regionals for the third time in four years, but the first in Division IV. Unsigned senior Tyler McKenney has been dominant on the mound with a 9-0 record and 1.00 ERA. Sophomores Clay Pittman (.573) and Derek Drewes (.464) are the top hitters for head coach Brent Renollet, who led Tinora to its first state appearance in school history last year.


Springfield Regional

No. 18 Fairfield Cincinnati Christian (23-5) vs. No. 4 Sidney Lehman Catholic (22-5)

A battle of top 20 teams with just five loses each will take place as Cincinnati Christian, fresh off a 2-1 victory over Ft. Loramie in the Bellbrook District finals, faces Sidney Lehman Catholic, which advanced with a 6-2 win over Arcanum in the Pleasant Hill District.

Cincinnati Christian features talented junior Ryan Arington who is batting a robust .535 with 8 doubles, 10 triples and 9 home runs. On the mound Arington is 6-0 with a 0.46 ERA, striking out 73 batters in 46 innings. Other top arms for the Cougars include Cody Leach (3-1, 42 Ks in 31 innings with a 1.79 ERA), Tyler Begley( 6-1, 46 Ks in 32 innings, 2.79 ERA) and Shane McLaughlin (3-0, 20 Ks in 15 innings, 2.28 ERA).

Sidney Lehman returns to regionals and is looking to get back to state for the first time since 1998 and the fourth time in its history. Some of the  top players for the Cavaliers and coach Dave King are Ashland University recruit Alex Smith, Defiance College recruit Ben Weber and Ohio Wesleyan recruit DJ Hemm.


No. 6 Minster (22-6) vs. South Charleston Southeastern (20-9)

Minster looks to repeat as state champion after defeating New Middletown Springfield in last season?s final, 6-0.

Minster has one of the top juniors in the state in Adam Niemeyer. The right-hander is 5-0 on the season with a 0.00 ERA and 76 strikeouts in 45 2/3 innings of work. Offensively Niemeyer is batting .433. Doug Huber (1.34 ERA in 47 1/3 innings .341 BA at the plate), Devon Poeppelman (.330 BA), and Jay Eilerman (.347 BA) were all first team in the Midwest-Athletic Conference this season to help out Niemeyer. Austin Knapke is 7-2 on the season with a 1.78 ERA and hitting .353 on the season.

South Charleston Southeastern made it to regionals by beating No. 11 Cincinnati Seven Hills in the Lebanon District finals 9-3. Southeastern is looking to make it back to state for its second time, the first being in 1969.


Lancaster Regional

No. 10 Newark Catholic (18-7) vs. No. 3 Racine Southern (27-0)

Newark Catholic, which lost in last year's state semifinals to Minster, has its ace back in Ohio State recruit Jimmy Lough, who tossed a four-hitter to claim a district title over Tree of Life. RHP Mitch Cox and LHP Tanner Potts are the other choices on the mound for Newark Catholic, which has won seven consecutive district championships. The seniors on this year's squad have all been to the state tournament three times. Cox threw six scoreless innings in the district for veteran Green Wave coach John Cannizzaro. Newark Catholic lost its leadoff hitter, Logan Walker, to a season-ending knee injury two weeks ago, and Ryan Fitzgerald has stepped in without missing a beat. Tiffin University recruit Garrett Vernau and Potts are among the leading hitters for the Green Wave.

Racine Southern is a senior-laden squad ready to avenge regional final losses to the Green Wave the past two seasons. The Purple Tornadoes are led by pitching ace Ryan Taylor. The Racine Southern Purple Tornadoes haven't been to the state tournament since 1938. Southern came from a 3-1 deficit to defeat big rival Eastern by a score of 9-3


No. 15 Berlin Hiland (23-4) vs. No. 23 Lucasville Valley (15-8)

Lucasville Valley is a traditional Division III power that has dropped into D-IV this season. Lucasville Valley made it to regionals in D-III last season. The veteran coach of the Indians, Dean Schuler, has won 519 games during his 31-year career. The Indians are led by hard-throwing right-hander Patrick Riehl, but senior Robbie Dwyer and junior Will Howard are also reliable pitchers. Luke Keller and Riehl are the top hitters, along with senior catcher Alex Hartley and Tyler Rowe.

Hiland is slugging its way through the tournament, which includes a 15-hit 16-2 victory over No. 5 ranked Steubenville Central Catholic. Hiland's team batting average is around .370. The Hawks are led by Dylan Kaufman, who was a standout on the state champion basketball team. Kaufman is batting .450 with two homers, two triples and 19 RBI. B.J. Miller leads the team with three homers and 30 RBI while batting .397. Miller is also 5-0 on the mound with 33 strikeouts and only 12 walks. Troyer is 4-1 with 24 strikeouts and 17 walks, and Luke Burch is 3-0 (16 Ks, 9 BB) while also batting .364. Lead-off hitter Grant Troyer is batting .400 with two homers and 22 RBI, and shortstop Kevin Schrock is also averaging a lofty .370.


Lorain Regional

Mogadore (14-9) vs. No. 20 Attica Seneca East (22-7)

Seneca East is looking to reach state for the first time in its history, while Mogadore is trying to return for the third time, the other two appearances in 1996 and 1997.

Mogadore is led by junior ace Nick Montecalvo. Montecalvo has a 2.47 ERA with 79 strikeouts in 73 2/3 innings, while walking 23. Montecalvo has an 8-5 record on the season. Other pitchers include senior Derek Valenti and his 4-1 record as well as sophomore Brendon Schrock. Leading hitters for the Wildcats include juniors Sam Graska batting .426, Joe Callihan .391 and Gary Strain .379. Mogadore has four players with double digit steals.

Seneca East defeated Columbus Crawford 3-2 and No. 7 Buckeye Central 19-13 in the North Robinson District finals to reach the Lorain Regional. Billy Diehm threw a five-hitter though he was ill in the semis and the Tigers rallied from a 9-1 deficit in the title game. Nine-hole hitter Ethan Caudill hit two homers and drove in six in the finals and catcher Kyle Depinet had a three-run blast to break and 11-11 tie.


New Middletown Springfield (22-6) vs. No. 13 Cuyahoga Heights (22-4)

Springfield looks to return to state after losing to Minster in the finals last season. Springfield has five state appearances. Cuyahoga Heights is looking to get to state for only the second time in school history, the lone time coming in 1976.
Springfield has advanced to the regionals for the fourth time in five years. Springfield has won seven of its last eight games. Senior Nick Russell has compiled a 0.38 ERA in 55 innings, striking out 58. Russell is 9-0 on the season. Joey Ohlin leads the team with 40 RBI. Springfield defeated No. 12 Warren JFK 10-0 in the Struthers District final.
Cuyahoga Heights has won eight games in a row. Two years ago, the Redskins defeated Western Reserve 9-2 in the regional semifinal before losing to Columbiana 13-2 in the regional final. Cuyahoga Heights defeated No. 14 Fairport Harding 11-3 in the Euclid District title game. Junior Mark Lucas and Austin Lane are top hitters and pitchers for Heights, which also gets solid bat contributions from Stetson Thacker, Zach Browning and Alex Torgerson.